For someone who played professional rugby for 10 years, and helped grow wellness company UFIT Singapore from four team members and one location, to nearly 100 staffers and nine locations in seven years, UFIT’s co-Founder and CEO James is quite modest.
When asked how he felt about winning The Finder’s Business of the Year Award, he confesses, “Probably a little bit embarrassed but definitely humbled. Our business is incredibly personal – it’s even in the name: personal training – so it’s reliant on our team. They’re the guys dealing with our clients on a daily basis.”
In fact, the world-class calibre of UFIT’s coaches and other staff is what sets it apart from other gyms in Singapore, says James. “We spend a huge amount of time on recruitment – we hire the very best people in Singapore and from around the world.”
It was the lack of high-quality personal training, coaching, nutrition counselling and more that led him and his partners, including Singaporean co-founder and COO Dean Ahmad, to open UFIT’s first outpost on Amoy Street in 2011.
“I’d been here for a year or so before conversations started,” says James, who moved to SG with his wife, Jenni, and their then-3-month-old daughter in 2009 (they now have three children, ages 4, 7 and 9). “We just felt that there was a big hole in the market and a massive opportunity.”
He credits his previous rugby career, which was ended by a bad knee injury, for his personal success. “Having played at such a high level of sport, I gained a huge amount of knowledge about fitness, nutrition, rehab, teamwork, and mental and physical resilience,” shares James, who oversees all aspects of the business from marketing and recruitment to sales and accounting.
What does he hope for UFIT’s future? “I’d love UFIT to have a presence in Southeast Asian cities like Hong Kong, Bangkok and Jakarta, and – being from the UK – it would be a dream come true to open a gym in London. We have aspirations to make this a global business.”
Okay, so maybe he’s not that modest. See more from James at the video below, then click here to read more about UFIT.
About The Finder Expatpreneur Awards
In 2017, The Finder debuted its first-ever Expatpreneur Awards to honour foreign-born entrepreneurs running successful expat-owned businesses in or from Singapore. This 2018, a new batch of 23 Expatpreneur Awardees have been unveiled! All of them have one thing in common: Their brands help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s core mission. (Find out more about the Expatpreneur Awards judge who coined the term “expat-preneur” in 2015 while you’re here!)
By Sara Lyle Bow, The Finder Issue 292
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