SE100 2020 Trailblazing Newcomer: Projekt 42

The Trailblazing Newcomer is awarded to a new enterprise (under three years of trading) who has made great strides to become a leader among their peers, combining solid growth with a commitment to proving their positive impact.

A combination of physical fitness and mental health services is a winning formula for Projekt 42, a not-for-profit gym and wellness centre in Leith, Edinburgh which opened its doors three years ago. By 2019, it had grown to a team of 79 staff offering yoga, physiotherapy, cancer rehabilitation, counselling, friendship and much more through a pay what you can model.

The SE100 judges were impressed by the unique range of services that it offers in this area of Scotland as well as its impressive early growth. They highlighted its wide appeal to a variety of beneficiaries as well as its solid profitability and potential for further growth.

By 2019, it had grown to a team of 79 staff offering yoga, physiotherapy, cancer rehabilitation, counselling, friendship and more

There’s no hiding that these are difficult times for Projekt 42 though. Overnight, the enterprise lost 80 per cent of its revenue as the Covid-19 crisis forced gyms to shut their doors across the UK. When Pioneers Post calls to share the news that the enterprise has been named our Trailblazing Newcomer, founder Sara Hawkins (pictured top) is delighted, but exhausted after a day spent moving gym equipment in the hope that the organisation may soon be able to re-open with suitable social distancing between its clients.

Hawkins is determined to bounce back. At the moment, she and her team are taking creative approaches to how they offer their services, such as introducing text message counselling, online turbo sessions with an Iron Man coach, and keeping in touch with members through social media.

Maintaining the community online

“We are doing what we can to try not to lose our sense of community,” she says. What’s more, she notes, online classes are attracting some new potential clients who may have been too shy to attend real-life gym sessions in the past.

In the future, the organisation may look a little different, but she pledges it will survive. “We’ve grown more than 100 per cent year on year, and I don’t want the team to think that Covid changes that,” she says. “We’re really good at pivoting.”


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