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Flex Health & Fitness: fitness revisited


Flex Health & Fitness brings together the worlds of fitness and nutrition. Beyond being just a space for people to work out, Flex Health & Fitness also offers the services of a professional nutritionist. “Europeans, and Cretans for that matter, are much more concerned about their life and health today compared to the situation a few years ago. We have clients here from 16 to 85 years old. People work out and watch their nutrition preventively much more now” explains Maria Goufa, co-owner of Flex Health & Fitness.

Maria’s background was in business administration. In 2014, she teamed up with two business associates – both fitness instructors - and together they bought an old gym in Heraklion, Crete. Bringing together her entrepreneurial expertise and their technical know-how, they took over the business armed with a plan to fix it up and make it a more attractive place for a workout.

“There were many things we had to change,” Maria says. “The building was old and needed basic renovation ranging from the structure itself down to the electrical wiring.” Maria and her partners relied on their own funds to make these first steps. To complete the face-lift, however, a lot of work needed to be done in the interior as well.

Maria explains that banks were reluctant to extend credit and they were running out of options. Eventually they were able to secure a microfinance loan from Pancretan Cooperative Bank, guaranteed by EIF, which allowed them to complete the transformation: “We were able to totally change our image,” says Maria, “the reception area, the lighting, the colours, the changing rooms, the furniture… now it looks like it should look. Our next step is to upgrade some of the equipment and introduce the latest technology.” With the new look giving the gym a boost, Maria was able to hire one more employee and increase shifts from 4 to 6 hours for some of her existing staff. “We’re doing well, but we want to do even better,” she adds.

Company: Flex Health & Fitness (Greece)

Type of business: sport

EIF financing: EaSI Guarantee Financial Instrument

Financial intermediary: Pancretan Cooperative Bank

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Ireland, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/el/index.htm


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