THE Brisbane Bullets National Basketball League club has announced a new two-year partnership with Indigenous-owned company Supply Aus.

“We are excited to welcome Supply Aus to the Bullets family,” Brisbane Bullets CEO Peter McLennan said.

“CEO Adam Williams and the team at Supply Aus have enjoyed incredible growth and we are looking forward to working with them to continue that journey.

“It is a challenging time with so many moving pieces. Our focus and commitment to all of our partners has only increased during this time. Our clear goals are to align with our partners to continue their business growth and I’m excited to see where our new partnership with Supply Aus will take us,” Mr McLennan said.  

“Last season the NBL staged its inaugural Indigenous Round and has established a working group to formulate a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

“As a club we are very supportive of this program and are excited to have added Tamuri Wigness to our roster for this season. Tamuri is a proud young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and a player with an exciting future.

“He joins training player Verle Williams Jr; a proud Yuggera man, which is the country the Bullets play on.”  

Supply Aus is a 100 percent Indigenous owned company that delivers a range of high-quality industry leading products and services including personal protective equipment, workwear, uniform, medical consumables, office supplies and coffee.

Supply Aus CEO Adam Williams, a proud Wiradjuri man, said sponsoring the Brisbane Bullets was an exciting opportunity to support the team while celebrating the success of Indigenous business in the sport’s arena.

“We love how the team has engaged talented Indigenous players on their roster, and we look forward to seeing the ongoing growth and acceptance of diversity,” Mr Williams said.

“This sponsorship represents Supply Aus’ growth and how Indigenous business is needed and valued in Australia. We hope to inspire other Indigenous businesses in their journey and how they can be successful and enjoy exposure at a national level.”

Mr Williams said Supply Aus was driven by a collective commitment to social investment and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people towards self-determination.

Supply Aus has joined the Brisbane Bullets as a major support partner and the logo will be displayed on the back of the Bullets’ playing shorts during all games of the next two Hungry Jack’s NBL seasons.

www.brisbanebullets.com.au

www.supplyaus.com.au

Pictured at the sponsorship announcement are (from left) Supply Aus CEO Adam Williams, Brisbane Bullets player Tamuri Wigness and Brisbane Bullets CEO Peter McLennan. 

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AFTER A NINE month hiatus, Table Tennis Australia (TTA) is relauncing its corporate wellness program, the Table Tennis Corporate Cup.

The Table Tennis Corporate Cup was developed for businesses and organisations across the country to engage employees, build employee communication while also providing strong corporate health and wellbeing benefits. 

The Corporate Cup was initially launched in 2019 and garnered immediate success with more than 250 companies in Sydney and Melbourne registering their interest upon launch.  More than 1000 participants took part in the events, and almost 2,500 table tennis matches were recorded through TTA’s results software in two weeks.

While more than 50 companies, including Google and PwC had signed up in March for the first round of this year’s Cup, the event came to a halt when Covid-19 forced community sports and workplaces to put operations on hold.

With restrictions easing off in most parts of Australia, Table Tennis Australia has worked hard to adapt the program to ensure its safety, and TTA president Graham Symonhas said he was "excited to spread the benefits of the sport to corporate companies once again".

“There’s no doubt that this year has been challenging for everyone, including corporate workers who have had to find new ways to connect with their colleagues, while battling isolation in their homes,” Mr Symons said. 

“We hope the Table Tennis Corporate Cup will help colleagues celebrate reconnecting with each other safely, while also having fun with a bit of friendly rivalry.”

Echoing the words of Mr Symons, TTA Corporate Cup program manager Patrick Wuertz said, “We listened closely to our corporate community and we’re proud to present a fresh and easy to use program, so companies can engage with their staff, and build great corporate culture within their organisations.

“Now more than ever, it’s time for businesses to engage with their teams and boost a positive work culture, and there is no better way to do this than through a social but fierce ping pong match.

“We had nearly 400 participants sign up to our first round at the beginning of the year, and we’re looking forward to seeing the Table Tennis Corporate Cup spread the physical and social benefits to more people as corporate communities come together again.”

Table Tennis Australia is urging companies to sign up now, ahead of the finals in Adelaide and Brisbane later this year. TTA will also be introducing a Corporate Cup event in Darwin, with mainly SMEs participating.

In addition, TTA will host a free online event with corporate speakers. All events will take place under a strict COVID Safe plan taking local restrictions and requirements into consideration.

Table Tennis Corporate Cup Finals dates:

  • Brisbane Corporate Cup Final – November 6
  • Adelaide Corporate Cup Final – November 30
  • Darwin Table Tennis Corporate Cup Round – October 19 - November 22
  • Live webinar – November 10

www.ttcorporatecup.com

www.tabletennis.org.au

Table Tennis Corporate Cup is on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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By Leon Gettler >>

ONEFITSTOP could provide a real solution for gyms in the age of pandemics.

OneFitStop is a software-as-a-solution (SaaS) platform working with fitness outlets around the world to empower their management, taking care of the scheduling, booking, payments, marketing and reporting tools. It can cover anything from small gyms, to yoga and pilates outlets, to multi-location franchise gyms.

The software solution allows operators to bill weekly or monthly, provide clients with access to classes, access to general check-in and personal training services.

Clients can download the app, with the business branded name, from the App Store. This allows them to book into classes or book private training. They can also sign up as members, even get gift cards and promo codes. 

Jarron Aizen, the founder and CEO of OneFitStop said in dealing with COVID-19, operators had been building in digital content such as video streaming, articles, blogs, and recipes, to engage with their audience from a digital landscape.

GYMS CAN GO FULL DIGITAL

The OneFitStop platform assists gyms to go completely digital, if they choose, potentially broadcasting to clients internationally.

“What we’ve seen is that, in the fitness industry over COVID, what’s happened is some facilities have gone to third party systems to some streaming – like they’ve just used Zoom – and others have not done anything and just shut their doors. So what we did was build all these tools inside the app,” Mr Aizen told Talking Business.

“For example, they can access all the streaming in the app directly. They already had this on their phone and you can do all the content in your phone directly, for example, and do all your pilates classes from home and even Chrome cast it to the TC easily,” he said.

Mr Aizen said OneFitStop allows operators to integrate their operations with Zoom, with unique Zoom meeting IDs for each class, and send the links out automatically.

OneFitStop has also built a broadcast tool, with high quality video broadcasts and multi-camera inputs and audio feeds, creating a high end production

“Some of our brands have gone along with that when they want to produce top-notch, top-quality content,” he said.

EXPANDING MARKETS

Mr Aizen said this would allow fitness outlets to build global markets, if they wanted to.

“Our brands, when they are starting to open up again, some of them are installing cameras in the studio live," he said. "They’re going to run in-club classes and stream it digitally to the world, and they’re going to try and sell those digital memberships outside of the four walls of the suburbs they operate in to all other countries.”

“We’ve seen them sell ready memberships in London, in the US, from Australia.” 

OneFitStop operates out of Australia, the US and right through the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. Its offices in America also service Europe.

Mr Aizen said the beauty of the digital world is it “allows some operators to go global with some businesses completely pivoting and others adopting a hybrid model with customers coming from all over the world”.

The company had been working on the technology for some time and had launched the first digital modules in December last year.

“We actually had the foundations of the technology ready built which was great because when COVID hit, we literally went full steam, all engineers on additional digital engagement modules and we were able to release it very quickly to the market place because we had already done all the basic work behind it all,” Mr Aizen said.

OneFitStop has also had to train fitness operators on how to use the technology.

“It’s added challenges to our operations, but certainly, when we see the end products, it’s incredibly rewarding because in many cases, it’s a saviour to these businesses at this time as well,” Mr Aizen said.

www.onefitstop.com

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.  

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THE ECONOMIC and social impact of COVID-19 related closures have been felt hard by the fitness industry, right across Australia.

Fitness Australia has released an industry impacts report detailing the devastating effect of gym shutdowns from March 23.

The COVID-19 Fitness Industry Impact Report lays bare the financial, social and economic impact suffered by the $3 billion a year industry that employs more than 35,000 people across more than 6,426 businesses, according to Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish.

Mr Elvish said while the industry was supportive of the government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, gym closures resulted in the mothballing of thousands of businesses.   

“Australians spend more than $8.5 billion every year on fitness and a large portion of this is spend on gym memberships, personal training, fitness classes and bootcamps,” he said.

“The closures, which affected all types gyms and fitness facilities, and shortly after outdoor bootcamps, meant these businesses had suffered significantly.

“The safety of the community comes first but the impact has been devastating for the fitness industry. Our report shows this impact has been felt by everyone from personal trainers and sole operators right through to the large gym franchises – no one is unaffected.” 

WORRYING SNAPSHOT

The COVID-19 Fitness Industry Impact Report surveyed a broad snapshot of the industry including exercise professionals and sole traders, through to boutique businesses and multi-service facilities. 

Fitness Australia’s analysis of exercise professionals and sole traders surveyed found: 81 percent has lost their job or main source of income; 71 percent had not had a single client since gyms closed on March 23, 2020; 44 percent of respondents has lost more than 61 percent of their income; 90 percent are continuing to pay up to $5,000 a month for business expenses despite not operating; less than 10 percent of clients had transitioned to virtual platforms or one-on-one training. 

Fitness Australia’s analysis of boutique businesses and multi-service facilities surveyed found: All businesses have had to stand down employees with less than 10 percent of staff still working; 70 percent of businesses cited a 100 percent decline in memberships; 24 percent of businesses reported a 61 percent decline in memberships due to cancellations or suspensions; revenue was down 100 per cent for 50% of gym owners; gyms have only been able to generate less than 10 percent of their usual income through virtual or outdoor one-on-one training. 

EAGER FOR ACTION

Mr Elvish said the industry was willing to do “whatever it takes” to get gyms reopened safely as soon as possible – both from an economic and overall wellbeing perspective.

“The industry is committed and onboard to do whatever is needed to reopen,” Mr Elvish said.  “We all want to ensure gym members and employees have the peace of mind to safely return to the gym, do a workout or take part in a group glass.

“Fitness Australia has prepared a draft reopening framework to ensure gyms can reopen safely as soon as possible. This is currently with all state and territory health departments for consideration.

“It was very encouraging to see the NT government include the staged reopening of gyms in their announcement yesterday,” he said.

“In addition to the financial benefits of getting gyms reopened, the role exercise plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing cannot be underestimated and it will become more apparent as restrictions are eased back.

“Gyms and the broader fitness industry will have a vital role in ensuring the ongoing health and wellbeing of Australians during and following COVID-19.”

www.fitness.org.au

Download the COVID-19 Fitness Industry Impact Report.

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AUSTRALIA's 1.4 million sole traders face dire circumstances due to COVID-19 according to Fitness Australia CEO, Barrie Elvish, whose organisation represents more than 10,000 fitness industry sole traders.

He is calling on the Federal Government to provide more financial support and assistance to this business sector, claiming not enough was being done to ensure they can survive the current environment. 

“In Australia, more than 62 percent of small businesses are sole traders and it appears to date the government has provided no means of financial support to these hard-working Australians,” Mr Elvish said. 

“Small business is at the core of the Australian economy employing more than 2.2 million people and we are already starting to see businesses really struggling and don’t know how long they can continue to survive.

“We are calling on the Australian Government to provide financial support and assistance to sole traders, casual employees and small business, many of whom proudly operate in the fitness industry," he said.

“Already the sole traders in our member network, many of whom operate as personal trainers, have seen a sharp drop in their clients due to travel restrictions, social-distancing and self-isolation.

"While we applaud and fully support the government on their recommended health and safety measures, nothing is being done to support this section of the business community that is greatly impacted,” Mr Elvish said.

In addition to advocating for more financial support for sole traders, Fitness Australia is also urging the government to consider gyms an essential service.

“Exercise is imperative to our mental health and wellbeing – gyms need to stay open to allow people to continue their regular exercise. Protecting and managing mental health during this uncertain and concerning time is essential," Mr Elvish said.

“With the strict hygiene, health and safety measures in place, gyms can stay open. We are actively working with our members every day to ensure government laws and guidelines are being met, while also providing additional recommendation on how facilities can continue do more to ensure the safest possible environment to exercise.”

www.fitnessaustralia.com.au

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WHILE the world is locking down to beat COVID-19, Bek Strachan is unlocking the power of high intensity home exercise as an antidote to social restrictions and physical inertia.

Director and head trainer at exercise studio Raw by Bek, Ms Strachan is opening the doors of her digital studio and encouraging Australians to clear the space in their living room, set up their yoga mats and get moving.  

Leading the way in both fitness and business with an increasingly popular new form of High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT)Ms Strachan has digitised her fitness program and pivoted the business in order to continue delivering her HIIT-to-the-beat workouts across Australia – an even internationally.   

Bek Strachan started the company when she was 24, and Raw by Bek now has over 150 members since the studio opened in 2016.

With the business paused in what had been a strong growth phase, COVID-19 has challenged Ms Strachan to think, innovate and adapt in order to continue thriving. She said it was about continuing to deliver on her promise of not only providing “a killer workout” but a healthy social community too.

Raw by Bek’s new digital program involves live-streamed workouts at different times throughout the day; Facebook events; The Raw by Bek Project Show with episodes on nutrition, exercise and how to remain fit and healthy indoors; and online access to recipes and healthy food preparation methods.

“The feedback from the Raw by Bek community has been really positive,” Ms Strachan said.

She said despite the challenges Raw By Bek is facing, “the community is worth it”.

“Our budget has been slashed, and without any definite end date, I've been forced to forward-plan for six months of closure, and ensure we are able to re-open on the other side with a community of members even stronger than before the close,” Ms Strachan said.

“I’m loving the challenge and how fast we've had to adapt, and am so thankful our community has done the same.”

www.rawbybek.com.au

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VARCIS Capital recently launched what it labels the world’s first Asia-focused sports technology investment and advisory house.

Headquartered in Hong Kong and with imminent leadership announcements to be made in China and Australia, Varcis has a vision to become the world’s most important sports technology and human performance platform in Asia.

Varcis Capital founder and managing partner Phillip King said the company was founded on the core belief that Asia’s 4.7 billion people (62% of the world’s population) would have a big role to play in the future intersection of sports, fitness, health, wellness and technology.

“Varcis Capital and our partners are committed to the intersection of sports and technology in Asia – specifically sport, fitness, health, medical, wellness, eSports and human performance –making direct investments and transaction advice to companies,” Mr King said. 

“The first problem with the global landscape is the majority of venture capital for the sports technology industry is American centric which represents only 5 percent of the world’s human population – Asia has 62 percent of the world’s population (4.7 billion people) and is home to fastest-markets growing at 20 percent CAGR at the intersection of sports, fitness, health, wellness and technology.

“The second problem is that Asia’s best entrepreneurs need more local investment, capital markets expertise and integrated ecosystems to accelerate faster and work more closely with Asia sports clients,” Mr King said.

“Varcis Capital and its partners aim to co-create an open end-to-end ecosystem for sports technology that seamlessly connects, celebrates, supports and turbo-charges the best and brightest sports technology and human performance across 48 countries in the Asia region.”

Mr King said Varcis Capital had created a world-class leadership team, combining elite sports experience, investment management and brand licensing, venture growth research and transaction advice in Asia.

“The Varcis Investment Division will write ‘seed’ and ‘Series A’ cheques of between US$500,000  and $5 million and the Varcis Transactional Team will provide expertise – from M&A, IPO and due diligence advice, technical expertise and brand distribution licencing – to fast-track companies looking to expand, create and monetize sports in Asia,”  he said.

According to Mr King, the Varcis global partner network has access to “tens of thousands of sports teams, leagues and organisations in Asia and internationally – as well as the world’s leading sports entrepreneurs and exciting young companies”.

The company’s main geographic focus markets include China, Australia, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Korea and all 48 countries across the Asia region, while Varcis is establishing physical offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Melbourne in 2020.

www.varcis.com

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