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Koi Sports is match fit for future growth

For many businesses 2020 was possibly a year they would rather forget. Leicester-based community interest company, Koi Sports CIC, used the time to reflect, plan for future growth and take advantage of the free support available from the Business Gateway Growth Hub.

Koi Sports CIC was established in November 2018 to ‘Sustain, Enhance, and Grow’ the grassroots sports sector by raising commercial investment to deliver positive social change. In essence, they work on the premise that sport brings people and communities together, no matter what your background, religion, size etc. Anyone can get involved. Sport is proven to improve physical and mental health and is a very diverse, aspirational sector with multiple career opportunities ranging from professional sportsperson to sports journalism, stewarding, coaching, supply chain positions and more. Koi Sports believe by making sports activities more affordable and accessible it opens benefits to individuals and local communities.

The company build partnerships between businesses and local sports clubs driving financial investment into grassroots sport to make it more affordable and accessible, for example even the smallest of investments can pay for a pair of boots and/or subs for those who can’t afford them.

Director, David Johnson-Rayner explains: “This is not just about the traditional “sponsoring of a Club and/or Team”. The businesses we work with are encouraged to get involved with their local clubs. They can use their involvement as part of their marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, and, if utilised effectively, their investment can help them to retain existing customers and win new business, as well as become an “Employer of Choice”.

One of the ways Koi Sports is engaging with businesses is through their new Elite Champion Membership Scheme, successfully piloted in 2020. “We reinvest membership fees into a business’ chosen Grassroots Sports Club and into our chosen Sports Charity, whilst also marketing their involvement across social media, networking events, and an episode of their own within our series of Podcasts” he added.

David was introduced to Growth Hub Adviser, Aruna Bhagwan around 18 months ago.

David explains: “Being the kind of company we are we don’t really fit the criteria for any of the usual grants or support on offer. But I’ve been really impressed with Aruna who has always kept in touch with the relevant information and opportunities and making referrals to the support that will benefit our business. She’s never given up on looking for things that might help. I’m now very informed about what is going on in terms of business support and that’s down to Aruna.”

He adds: “Koi Sports is still here, post-Covid, and we are where we are today with the support of many people including Aruna. We are still a viable business, coming up with new ideas, still growing, and the Growth Hub has been there to support us along the way.”

Aruna commented: “I’m really proud of the team at Koi Sports CIC. What they are doing, particularly around supporting disadvantaged communities and minority groups is commendable. I was pleased to be able to provide some mentoring around strategic issues and look forward to watching the business go from strength-to-strength.”

For information about growing your business with help from the Business Gateway  call 0116 366 8487 or email