A special loan for businesses that want an alternative to traditional finance has allowed a young entrepreneur to develop one of the UK’s first academies dedicated to the mesmerising urban sport of tricking.

Robbie Bates first discovered tricking when he was 16 and was soon impressing fellow students – and panicking teachers – as he tried out gravity-defying flips, kicks and twists in the playground of his school on the Isle of Wight.

The sport, which has its roots in martial arts, has become something of an internet phenomenon but back then was a new concept and Robbie struggled to find anywhere with the right kind of facilities to really hone his skills. He dreamed of creating a purpose-built facility where young people could meet and share their passion for the sport.

Fast-forward 12 years and Robbie has achieved his ambition.

With mentoring support from Transmit Startups and a Start-Up Loan, Robbie has launched WightTricks Academy at Prospect Business Park on the Isle of Wight, a space designed for tricking and acrobatics – with a huge air floor, spring floor and a team of talented coaches.

The only gymnastics floor on the island, the facility has been an instant hit and has already developed a community of 150 active members, aged from as young as five.

Robbie said:

“It’s absolutely amazing to have actually built this facility for local kids. It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to make a living from my passion. When I was 16 this type of facility is all I ever wanted – now I can give it to others."

“You can try tricking anywhere but you need the correct flooring and the support of a community to really master it and to get the most enjoyment from it. A spring floor prevents you from getting tired and means you can push your body further to do more amazing tricks.

“It’s really exciting and rewarding to see a new generation of young people benefiting from the sport because it’s about so much more than just being able to do a cool new trick – although that does feel pretty awesome! It’s about building the confidence and skills to set the stage for a long healthy and active life while having a blast at the same time. Kids learn to believe in themselves and that’s a powerful thing to do.”

Robbie was initially granted a £4,000 Start-Up Loan to develop his business in local schools and was successful in his second application for £16,000 to develop the brand-new facility. He is now working with Transmit Startups’ Jill Stewart to find the perfect mentor to maximise the impact of the investment.

Transmit Startups is the UK’s leading provider of Government-backed Start Up Loans and has backed the business dreams of 4,500 entrepreneurs with over £43.5 million in finance. Transmit’s loans offer entrepreneurs an alternative to traditional finance, with low interest repayments and high-impact mentoring.

Jill said:

“Robbie’s business has got off to an incredible start and he clearly identified an exciting opportunity to be part of the growing popularity of urban sports in the UK. I’m really looking forward to finding out what’s next for Robbie’s business and to hearing about the personal success stories of many young people who will, no doubt, be inspired by his passion and skills.”

Transmit Startups is part of the Transmit Group of companies which offer funding, consulting, coaching and mentoring services to entrepreneurs throughout their business journey.