Entrepreneur whose business began at UEA springs into Mexican market

UEA students taking part in the Jailbreak event in aid of Wateraid. Daniella Foux, 22, right, and Ka

UEA students taking part in the Jailbreak event in aid of Wateraid. Daniella Foux, 22, right, and Kate Batty, 24, left, ready to jump in the jailbreak challenge on their Kangoo Jumps. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

A fitness entrepreneur whose business was funded by her student loan and her university is springing into the Latin American market.

Finbarr Carter, student enterprise officer at the University of East Anglia, at the university's Ent

Finbarr Carter, student enterprise officer at the University of East Anglia, at the university's Enterprise Centre. Picture: Bethany Whymark - Credit: Archant

Former UEA student Kate Batty was on a year studying abroad when she discovered the craze for rebound boots.

Fitted with a spring-loaded sole to relieve pressure on joints, they were originally designed for people with sports injuries, but the international development and Spanish graduate saw an opportunity to introduce the product to the fitness class market.

She secured a £3,000 grant from the university to purchase her first 20 pairs of boots. Less than three years on, the 27-year-old is launching her KTroo classes in Mexico alongside a growing pool of instructors and classes in East Anglia, which are endorsed by Active Norfolk.

She praised the UEA for going 'above and beyond' to help its students.


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'The enterprise centre is very forward thinking and encouraging – if you have an idea they take you through the process and genuinely want to help you,' she said. 'I am hoping to get more funding from them so we can grow.'

The entrepreneur's continental leap comes as the UEA announces a new raft of funding for student start-ups. Made available through Santander Universities, the expansion to the institution's Do It Fund will enable students to get a grant of £7,500 or an investment of between £25,000 and £50,000 to grow their business.

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Student enterprise officer Finbarr Carter, who is based at the UEA's Enterprise Centre, said starting a business had become 'much more of an aspiration' but potential entrepreneurs could be deterred by the cultural stigma around failure.

He said: 'The experience of starting up a business – even if it does not work – can be good for you. We should celebrate people trying.'

Set up around four years ago, the enterprise centre now comprises Enterprise Central – a space for students to work or get advice on their own enterprises – as well as rentable offices for student start-ups and work experience opportunities with resident businesses. The centre – part of the university's careers service – continues to support students for up to three years after they graduate and runs a mentoring scheme with business and enterprise coaches.

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