A North East fitness equipment company established by one of the original founders of Sage and a former Newcastle United physiotherapist has secured £500,000 in funding from the Leeds office of Reward Finance Group.

Speedflex supplies gyms throughout the country, and currently has 14 studios operating in the UK.

The business was established and funded by entrepreneur Graham Wylie, one of the original founders of Sage, and Paul Ferris, a former Newcastle United physiotherapist.

Unlike traditional exercise machines, Speedflex does not use weights. Instead resistance is automatically adjusted in response to the user. This means that the machine responds and adjusts the resistance, allowing users to train efficiently and at an optimum level for the individual.

The company has experienced an increase in demand for the Speedflex machine and studio concept, which has created an urgent need to manufacture a further 80 machines.

The Leeds office of Reward Finance Group has provided Speedflex with a £500,000 revolving facility to support the process, having been introduced to the company by Peter Cromarty of North East-based intermediary Corporate and Commercial Business Solutions.

Mark Simpson, group finance director of Speedflex, said: “We have had to act quickly to meet the demand for the machines and while this could have been funded from further internal investment, the process ideally suited utilising a revolving facility.

“We are therefore grateful to Reward who quickly recognised Speedflex’s potential and provided us with a flexible funding solution, which met perfectly with our requirement.

“The facility will enable us to settle stage payments, as they become due, and reduce the facility at the point of sale. It will also allow us to grow the business at the pace we require.”

Alan Sanderson, portfolio manager at Reward Finance Group, added: “The amount of orders being received for the Speedflex machines demonstrates that this new technology is a great addition to the gym market, moving forwards.

“We therefore had no hesitation in providing a flexible funding solution to help the company quickly fulfil the orders and facilitate further expansion, as demand dictates.”


Matt Lister joins the team at Corporate and Commercial Business Solutions Group. Michael Grahamslaw catches up with him shortly after his move.

Can you briefly outline your journey through business?

I started out in one of the high street banks, firstly working in their card acquiring division as a corporate account manager, before moving into commercial banking. That move was the first step into funding/ lending, working on a portfolio of trading business customers in a range of sectors and requirements. From there I moved into Invoice Finance with one of the independent providers and this came with a steep learning curve in a pretty full on environment. It was a rewarding experience in a challenging market, it was here that I developed good relationships with those that are now great contacts and friends. I moved to Anglo Scottish Asset Finance to develop their commercial finance side of the business. The learning curve was again steep, but it is genuinely amazing the breadth of options available for a client’s funding needs.

What attracted you to CCBSG?

It is a natural step to take following on from what I have been doing to this point. The funding market is constantly evolving, but there are wider opportunities to provide additional support to the business community, outside of simply the provision of funding. I will be working directly with existing and new clients, spotting potential opportunities to help. CCSBG is a young dynamic business and I look forward to taking the business on to the next level.

What services do they provide?

We’re a customer focused commercial finance brokerage and business consultancy, specialising in working capital solutions and growth. With a range of experience and access to extensive options we have the ability to support business at all stages. This month we have already completed on a working capital facility for a timber supplier, a business acquisition for a dental laboratory, purchase of subsea surveying equipment and invoice finance for a group of logistic companies. All businesses in completely different sectors and all based in the North East.

What will you bring to the role?

I strive to find solutions for customers that are appropriate and fit for purpose. I have built great relationships with loan and working capital funders who sit firmly in the alternative market, which is no longer emerging but maturing. My role will entail working with clients directly and through our network to find funding that works for them. That could be working capital, funding for growth, asset finance, and working closely with funders through to deal completion.

What’s your fondest career memory?

There isn’t one memory in particular, but the best moments are the ‘thank you’, the ‘well done’ or ‘that was a great shout’ from the people you deal with.

What motivates you?

Put simply doing a good job and being respected for the job I do.

Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?

I see CCBSG growing strongly, it always taken 6-12 months to get into a new role from experience. The market dictates this to some extent and factors such as Brexit bring untold (as yet) opportunities and challenges for the NE business community. We are here to assist in whichever way we can.

How do you like to unwind?

Outside of work it’s all the clichés, friend’s family are key, as is the season ticket at Newcastle. I’m a failed tennis player in so far as I don’t play anywhere near enough as I should do.