Boxer Anthony Joshua with the CardioWall Pro-X Elite

Bodmin-based fitness equipment manufacturer, Rugged Interactive, is growing its business overseas after securing £350k worth of contracts in the United States.

Using the latest technology geared to match individuals’ own capabilities, the business designs interactive fitness products for school and indoor adventure. Products include the Pro-X, CardioWall and climbing and trampolining equipment for well-known UK names such as Manchester City Football Club, Anthony Joshua and Bannatyne’s Health Club and Spa.

International trade advisors (ITAs) from the Department for International Trade (DIT) helped Rugged Interactive to develop a digital marketing strategy which aided the company in breaking into the competitive American market.

Since it began exporting in 2017, the business has established a strong customer base in Europe. Exports now make up two-thirds of the company’s annual turnover. And thanks to the recent US contract win, it now predicts its exporting activity will be worth £1.5 million by 2020.

Simon Heap

Rugged Interactive enrolled in the Government’s Passport to Export programme in 2015 – an export assessment and support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises – and appeared on Dragons’ Den in the same year, securing an investment offer of £100k from Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones.

Simon Heap, founder at Rugged Interactive, said: “We’ve been exporting since 2017 and while our products flew off the shelves in the UK and Europe, the US market was harder to crack.

“Supporting us with our digital marketing strategy, our ITA recommended which language we should be using on our channels. The way we talk to US consumers is more focused on long-term benefits and installation, for example.

“As a sports equipment manufacturer, we had quite different needs from the food and drink brands that the south west is famous for, but our ITA understood that from the outset and was able to provide tailored assistance. With such high-quality support, if we can do it, so can your business.”