GB Olympian secures £10,000 for his ‘Ninja’ gym

Current taekwondo world champion and former Team GB Olympian Henry Cookey secures £10,000 for his Ninja-inspired Liverpool city region gym. Tony McDonough reports

Henry Cookey
Henry Cookey, founder of HC:Fit – Ninja Training and a former Team GB Olympian


Former GB Olympian and current taekwondo world champion Henry Cookey has secured fresh investment for his Bootle gym and fitness centre.

Henry set up HC:Fit – Ninja Training in 2016 with the backing from a start-up loan from MSIF in Liverpool. Now MSIF offshoot, River Capital, is providing a new £10,000 loan for the business via the Small Business Loans Fund.

And the fitness entrepreneur has told LBN he has ambitions to establish the brand at other locations.

HC Ninja Training offers a 4,000 sq ft facility comprising a ninja-style obstacle course, a fully equipped gym and a separate training area. It is a local version of the popular television series Ninja Warrior UK, in which Henry competed in three series. 

Since it was established the business has seen consistent growth in membership and now has more than 40 paying members and a steady stream of regular walk-in clients.

Henry intends to use the £50,000 to increase the gym’s marketing presence via digital channels and add prominent outdoor signage to drive further membership numbers.

He also intends to make the gym environment more welcoming with some new and bright decorations.

Henry told LBN: “In the past I had ambitions to set up my own gym but I don’t think I would be able to compete with some of the bigger established names such as Fitness First.

“However, when I started to take part in Ninja Warrior UK that gave me the idea to set up something that would attract people who wanted to get fit but are put off by the usual gym environment.

“Since we opened we have attracted all kinds of people through the door. Kids, adults who are used to exercise and adults who are not used to it at all. We try to make it as fun as possible.

“I think the business has loads of potential. When people have come in for the first time they have been really impressed and say they wished they had known about it sooner.

“I want to get the word out there about what we offer here. Once I have got this place stable and solid the plan is to expand to other locations.” 

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The Small Business Loans Fund is backed by Regional Growth Funding together with Unity Bank and managed by River Capital.

Investment manager at River Capital, Andy Jones, said: “It is a pleasure to help such a committed, motivated and impressive business owner who we have supported before with funding to further grow and develop his business. 

“Ninja Training is a unique type of health and fitness training. With Henry’s own personal success, knowledge and experience, this will mean his customers will be getting the very best opportunity to reap the full impact and benefit.”

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