After experiencing his own mental health trauma, Jake McBride launched his boutique boxing gym to help others with their mental health issues.
Personal trainer and mental health advocate Jake McBride turned his passion for fitness into a thriving business when he launched his very own boutique boxing gym to help others both physically and mentally.
The gym, called Hooked Belfast, was inspired by a trip to London and what Jake saw as a gap in the market.
Hooked Belfast – a boutique boxing gym
In January, Jake McBride launched his boutique boxing gym called Hooked Belfast. The 24-year-old was inspired to open the business after being inspired by gyms and their styles on a trip to London.
Following this trip, he identified what he believed to be a gap in the market for an innovative boxing gym in Northern Ireland.
Speaking about Hooked Belfast and the Go For It Programme, Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Christina Black, said, “It’s fantastic to see Hooked Belfast successfully up and running after getting our support through the Go For It programme.
Jake should be very proud indeed of his achievements so far. He’s worked to create not only a business but a positive community of like-minded people who are working to improve their physical and mental health.
“That’s something that should be commended, and I wish him all the best in the future”.
Managing mental health – the importance of exercise
Having faced his own mental health struggles in the past, Jake realised that when he was exercising and boxing, he felt happier and noticed a significant improvement in his overall well-being and mental health.
He said about his reasons for opening the gym, “I wanted to share my knowledge and passion for boxing by providing a service, so others could also experience the positive mental and physical health benefits that have helped me massively.
“Since launching Hooked Belfast, I’ve enjoyed the freedom of being able to make my own decisions while creating a community of people who want to try something a little bit different from existing gyms across the city”.
The Go For It programme – helping entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into commercial businesses
Jake successfully launched Hooked Belfast thanks to the help he received from participating in the Go For It Programme through Belfast City Council.
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s vast network of enterprise agencies.
The goal is to provide entrepreneurs with expert advice and support to turn their business ideas into commercial successes.
The programme is partly funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.
After seeing a Go For It social media post, Jake got in touch with the programme online and began the process through in-person meetings.
Jake explained how helpful the programme was. He said, “The Go For It programme was amazing. I was matched with a business advisor, and their attention to detail and overall professionalism was top-notch.
“My business advisor was so knowledgeable and gave me so many tips on how to run a business”.