AN entrepreneur has combined a 15-year career in martial arts with his skills as a senior physiotherapist to launch a new Darlington-based business – Sensei.

Rick Boyle worked with TEDCO Business Support to successfully access a Virgin StartUp low-cost business loan of £25,000 to fund his new martial arts and physiotherapy business based on Chesnut Street in Darlington.

The business offers a mix of treatments from highly qualified health professionals in the physiotherapy field and specialises in treating a range of physical injuries, with a focus on sports rehabilitation.

The 37-year-old: “I’ve been involved in mixed martial arts for over 15 years and I am now looking forward to bringing together my professional career and my personal passion in one space.

“My former role as a senior NHS physiotherapist gave me the professional experience to treat a wide range of conditions but I always wanted to eventually manage patients in my own business space.

“I’ve worked very closely with many athletes over the years and the time seemed right to open a physiotherapy practise which combines my love of martial arts training with physiotherapy for a more rounded service to clients.”

He worked with Judith Wheatley, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support to fine tune what was already a detailed business plan and review his financial strategy.

The businessman added: “A friend who has previously set up a new business recommended TEDCO as they found the service offered by their business advisory team to be excellent. I was assigned my own business advisor, Judith Wheatley, and she got straight down to work helping me work out a launch plan and challenging me to really look into every aspect of the business in detail.

“With Judith’s help I successfully applied for a Virgin StartUp loan of £25,000 to help finance the initial start-up costs of Sensei and fund the full fit-out of our dedicated premises at Chesnut Street. TEDCO is the delivery partner for Virgin StartUp in the North East so it was really helpful to have Judith on board to guide me through the application process and make my idea become a business reality.”

Virgin StartUp is a not-for-profit organisation offering low-cost business loans backed by the government to new enterprises.

Judith Wheatley added: “The martial arts and fitness training aspect adds a community dimension to Sensei that complements the overall business plan and really brings together the sport and Physiotherapy service. I’m confident that this is a business which will really grow and wish Rick and his team the very best of success in the future.”