FORMER professional dancer and successful social entrepreneur Bethany Ainsley is celebrating after receiving the David Goldman Prize for Business Innovation at Newcastle University Business School.
Formed in 2008, Nouveau Wellbeing Community Interest Company (CIC) began offering affordable dance and fitness classes in the County Durham area from its studio in Peterlee. It now delivers classes in 75 community venues from Cramlington across the North East, North Yorkshire and recently started delivering classes in Leeds, reaching 1500 residents a week.
The family of David Goldman, a co-founder and former chief executive of Sage Group plc, the North East’s only FTSE100 company, gave an endowment to Newcastle University Business School to recognise, support and encourage business innovation in the region – the business innovation prize, awarded annually, forms part of this.
Professor John Wilson of Newcastle University Business School speaking on behalf of the Goldman family, said: “The David Goldman Prize in Business Innovation is awarded to recognise that success in business does not just come from sustained effort but from the ability of the successful individual to identify something that no one else has spotted and who has the self-belief and skill to turn this into a sustainable business model.
“Bethany is a shining example of what can happen when entrepreneurship meets social need. Not only has she built a successful business that sustains people directly by employing them but Nouveau Wellbeing also benefits the lives of many hundreds of people who are able to access dance, fitness and wellbeing classes in some of the most economically deprived and socially isolated areas of the region.”
From its Peterlee head office the business employs 16 staff an increase of 6 inside 12 months and has boosted turnover beyond the £300,000 mark a significant increase in trading on the year before. Appointments have included a new operations manager Jon Bird who has come from a leisure centre management background at Redcar and Cleveland Council, a Teesside team leader, Louise Masters, who is helping to grow the business and deliver classes across Middlesbrough, Guisborough and North Yorkshire. Programmes have become as diverse as free ‘Cook with Us’ cookery classes aimed at helping people to prepare a meal for four for under £5 to the delivery of dance classes in care homes for the elderly.
Bethany, who is the current North East Young Business Person of the Year, said: “I’m delighted to be recognised with the David Goldman Prize for Business Innovation, it has given both me and my growing team at Nouveau Wellbeing a huge boost.
“I’m very proud of our achievements so far, particularly in terms of our ability to reach vulnerable and disadvantaged people who would not get the opportunity to receive the benefits of fitness and wellbeing classes without us.
“As a business we are now moving into a new phase of growth and expanding our range of programmes beyond the region.
“I’ve always seen the Nouveau model as something that can be easily applied in other parts of the country and growing the business has become my main focus.
“We are also diversifying into Work Place Health. It’s so important that people feel able to maintain or improve their fitness at work as often this is where people spend most of their time and knowing this is supported by their employer is a major morale booster which can improve productivity at work.”
Nouveau has delivered Work Place classes at the Environment Agency, South Tyneside Hospital and Berghaus and it is an expanding part of the business.
Bethany said: “We are dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles and positive well-being. Our mission is to engage people, where ever they are, in fun and affordable physical activity and to encourage increased fitness levels, personal development and healthy life style choices.”