Sponsor of World’s Strongest Man competition plans to create more than 230 jobs in Yorkshire

The sponsor of the World’s Strongest Man competition plans to create more than 230 jobs in Yorkshire.

SBD Apparel is also the title sponsor of the World’s Strongest Man, which has hugely increased awareness of the business across Europe and the US. Library image of the visit of HM Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Andrew J Coombe, to SBD Apparel on achieving The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2018.

SBD Apparel has been awarded a £1.5m Business Investment Fund grant from the Sheffield City Region towards a new 100,000 sq ft premises on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe.

The new facility is expected to create 237 new jobs within three years of its completion.

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It will enable the company to bring its five existing buildings together in South Yorkshire to operate from one single site, while quadrupling its floor space.

A spokesman said: "The increased production capacity will mean SBD Apparel can take advantage of the immediate growth opportunities for the brand by bringing to market new products and expanding into new countries and other sports.

"The proposed development will include 52,500 sq ft of production floor space and 30,000 sq ft of offices over three floors, plus warehousing, car parking and land for expansion. In total, SBD Apparel is investing £9.38m in land acquisition, development and final fit out costs."

Benjamin Banks, the managing director of SBD Apparel, said: “South Yorkshire is the ideal location for our new premises, and we are very excited to be growing our business here and creating a high number of new jobs in the area in the next two to three years. We chose Sheffield City Region as it is a fantastic central location with a great manufacturing infrastructure, affordable housing and a skilled local workforce.”

SBD also plans to purchase extra space at the new premises to pave the way for the business to expand in a second phase, allowing an extension to the rear of the building to add a further 70,000 sq ft unit, which would double its capacity.

Mr Banks added: “The new premises are needed so we can expand our production output and take advantage of the market demand which will see our company grow significantly in the future. With the new premises, we will be able to extend our product range and to launch our brand in new countries, where we plan to increase our local distributors from 42 to 70 countries. It will also give us the production capacity to progress with developing creative new prototypes and bring exciting new products to market.”

“Another great benefit of these premises is that we will be able to expand to meet our future growth aspirations, so we won’t have to move again.”

SBD Apparel had intended to fund the project with cash reserves and 2020 profits, but the impact of COVID-lockdown created a barrier to the company’s planned growth.

James Muir, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman, said: “The new premises will give a massive boost not only to the company but also to the local economy. Without the BIF funding the project would have been unable to proceed, so it is fantastic news for SBD Apparel and for job creation in this region.”

Mr Banks added: “Our trading in 2020 was impacted by the cancellation of events and the closures of gyms throughout the world, however we remain very optimistic about the future.

"It will be fantastic to have all our business divisions located in one place and we expect there will be local collaboration opportunities at the Advanced Manufacturing Park as this area is really developing its health and well-being specialism with centres like the AMID.”

The company was established in Peckham, London, eight years ago, and moved to Rotherham in 2017 because it needed more manufacturing space.

The company sells its products online and through national events such as the British Powerlifting Championships and Giants Live Strongman events.

SBD Apparel is the title sponsor of the World’s Strongest Man competition. The company also sponsors the British Weightlifting Team and British Power Lifting Teams.

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