Reflecting on his own experience of travel that led to the creation of one of Australia’s leading fitness franchises, KX Pilates founder Aaron Smith has partnered with KX Pilates to offer an Entrepreneur Travel Grant of $20,000. The grant coincides with the launch of Aaron’s new book, Define Yourself, which looks at his own journey of combining passion, purpose, and entrepreneurship that created the global Reformer Pilates brand KX Pilates.
What is the KX Pilates Entrepreneur Travel Grant?
KX Pilates will award one lucky Australian with $20,000 to help them expand their mind through travel and grow their business idea. The winner will also receive personal mentorship from Aaron
Smith and his team, who will help refine and shape the idea.
Aaron was fortunate enough to have a safe and comfortable childhood. After discovering a love for fitness and nutrition, he embarked on a five-year period of traveling on a shoestring, earning just enough money along the way to fund the next leg of his adventures. Traveling forced him out of his comfort zone, providing the impetus to embark on his next journey – launching a business – that ultimately changed his entire life.
KX Pilates became the result of Aaron’s globetrotting, and in an act of ‘paying it forward’, one lucky Australian will be awarded a $20,000 Entrepreneur Travel Grant to support their business venture, paired with one-on-one mentorship from Aaron and his team.
“It’s about using travel as a means to go out and see what other parts of the world are doing in that space and how they’re doing it differently. Traveling really opens doors, and opens connections. I’m also involved in a global Entrepreneurs Group, so I have networks around the world and can access experts in the industry of whatever these people have ideas in and hopefully push it along from there,”says Aaron.
The KX Pilates Entrepreneur Travel Grant is open to any Australian over the age of 18. Their business dream does not need to be fitness industry related. “Obviously, I’m going to choose someone who I think I can help out the most. The network I have made through my entrepreneur’s group is so varied from different industries and I’ve got fantastic contacts and mentors, so the applicant doesn’t need to be fitness based.”
Where does the passion for business come from?
A compulsive eating disorder in his teenage years saw Aaron blow out to over 100kgs. After discovering a passion for fitness and nutrition that enabled him to drop to 86kgs and 10% body fat, Aaron’s life changed. Not only did his confidence grow, but his appearance transformed to the point where people didn’t recognise him at his high school reunion.
“Travel put me in touch with who I am as a person today. The life lessons I received on adversity, and independence were incredible. I knew I was searching for something. I just didn’t know what.”
As an avid snowboarder, Aaron started his travels in the US and eventually found himself in London, where he fell in love with the fitness modality of Pilates and decided to bring the dynamic reformer style he experienced overseas back to Australia.
The youngest of five children, business ownership and entrepreneurship are in Aaron’s blood, with his father running a chain of pharmacies for over 45 years. Before giants like Chemist Warehouse came along, Aaron’s father’s business had grown to be one of the largest pharmacies in the Southern Hemisphere. Aaron credits his father with helping him as he embarked on his business journey, signing on as guarantor for his first business loan, and standing by his side along the way.
“My mother obviously taught me a hell of a lot, but what I got from my father was the idea of grinding it out. He started his pharmacy on very, very little money and had one of everything on the shelf. When he sold one item, he put two back up. I wasn’t born at the time, but my two older sisters remember living in this tiny one or two-bedroom apartment at the back of the shop”, says Aaron. When deciding to create the travel grant, Aaron thought, “A lot of people don’t have mentors or business coaches, or even family that back them like I did. I just want to give this person the best possible chance.”
It’s hoped that the KX Pilates travel grant will allow one aspiring entrepreneur the opportunity to explore their business venture while opening their eyes to other parts of the world.
Helping Young Aussies Grow Big Ideas
Aaron stepped down as CEO several years ago, choosing to focus on where he was most passionate and assuming the role of Head of Innovation and International Expansion. Reflecting on Aaron’s inspiration through travel, KX Pilates wondered if other Aussies felt the same and commissioned a national survey to uncover what people thought about starting a business and what their barriers might be to pursuing those ideas.
The results found that 60% of Australians love the idea of starting a business or side hustle, with Gen Z leading the charge (82%, 18 – 24 years), followed closely by Millennials (70%, 24 – 35 years).
Respondents revealed the key three reasons they want to start their own business:
- To earn more money (61.2%),
- To have flexible working hours (45.8%), and
- To be their own boss (42.5%).
The main factors as to why Australians are reluctant to start a business are due to money (27%), motivation (16%), and inspiration or an idea (12%).
The aim of the Entrepreneurs Travel Grant is to allow an entrepreneur to overcome all three of these barriers as they draw inspiration through travel, receive valuable mentoring from Aaron, and have access to funding that will launch their idea.
“I’m stoked to partner with my company, KX Pilates, to award an aspiring entrepreneur with this $20,000 grant. Not only will it give them the opportunity to travel the world, but also help kickstart their business, whatever that might be,” says Aaron.
Aaron Smith's book, Define Yourself
The travel grant is a celebration of Aaron’s book, Define Yourself, which launched October 9th 2023. The book provides an insight into Aaron’s business journey and reveals how travel played a major part in his personal and business development. “Before KX Pilates, I was at a crossroads in my life. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I had a passion for fitness,” says Aaron.
Define Yourself explores the different stages Smith went through as a young entrepreneur to help build the brand it is today. Copies of Define Yourself are available for purchase online from 9 October on Amazon and KX Pilates for RRP $24.95.
How to apply for the $20,000 Travel Grant:
Applications for the $20,000 Entrepreneur Travel Grant are open until 11:59pm 20th October, 2023. Business-savvy Australians will need to submit their cover letter, in PDF or video format, addressed to Aaron Smith, outlining the vision of their future business idea or interest, why travel is important to them and where would they like to travel to expand their minds and generate the idea.
The top three submissions will be invited to take part in a one-on-one interview with Smith to explore their idea further before the winner of the grant is selected. For more information and to submit an application, visit https://kxpilates.com/au/offers/kx-entrepreneur-travel-grant/
About KX Pilates
KX Pilates opened its first studio in Melbourne in 2010 and now spans 110 studios in Australia and the broader APAC region, including New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, China, and Taiwan. As leaders in the Reformer Pilates space, KX offers full-body workouts that are dedicated to helping clients achieve continuous improvement
through dynamic movement. For more information on KX or to book a class, please visit kxpilates.com.
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