CEO of SportBenefit.eu: “The Cypriot market was primed for a holistic well-being solution”
07:00 - 12 October 2023
SportBenefit.eu is a cutting-edge employee well-being platform that helps companies promote the health and wellbeing of their employees by granting access to an extensive network of sports and fitness facilities and activities. Here, the CEO of SportBenefit.eu, Filip Wolek, explains what the platform has to offer and delves into what led the company to relocate to Cyprus.
“While any new venture comes with its unique set of challenges, we found that Cyprus offered a conducive and supportive ecosystem,” he said. “This included efficient administrative processes, clear regulatory frameworks, and a genuine eagerness to facilitate the growth of innovative businesses.”
SportBenefit.eu is an innovative employee well-being platform. Can you explain what it is about?
SportBenefit.eu is a cutting-edge employee well-being platform designed to revolutionise the way companies promote and support the health and fitness of their employees. It operates as a comprehensive membership service that grants employees access to an extensive network of sports and fitness facilities and activities, all within one convenient platform. Here’s some key features that make SportBenefit.eu a unique offer for employers in Cyprus:
- Diverse Sports and Fitness Options: The platform provides employees with a wide array of choices when it comes to staying active and healthy. These options range from traditional gym sessions and yoga classes to swimming, dance studios, rock climbing, tennis, martial arts, and many more. The platform caters to various fitness preferences and interests.
- Simplified Administrative Processes: SportBenefit.eu understands the importance of simplicity for HR and accounting teams. To streamline administrative tasks, the platform offers straightforward agreements, ensuring that managing employee well-being programs is efficient and hassle-free for businesses.
- No Long-Term Commitments: Unlike traditional gym memberships, which often require long-term commitments, SportBenefit.eu offers the freedom to update the list of active users on a monthly basis. Companies only pay for employees who actively participate, with the flexibility to pause and restart memberships as needed.
- Cost Efficiency: SportBenefit.eu's approach to employee well-being can result in significant cost savings for both companies and employees. Businesses and employees can save up to 40% on various taxes compared to traditional gym subscriptions. This cost efficiency is a win-win for employers and their workforce.
- Enhanced Employee Well-Being: By providing employees with diverse fitness options and promoting an active lifestyle, SportBenefit.eu contributes to enhanced employee well-being. This not only benefits the physical health of employees but also has positive effects on their mental and emotional well-being.
There are three types of subscriptions in the App: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Can you describe what they entail?
By offering these three membership levels, SportBenefit.eu ensures that there's something for everyone. Whether an employee is just starting his/her fitness journey, seeking a balance between cost and value, or looking for premium and extensive options, our platform caters to their needs.
Let's delve a bit deeper into the distinctions between these levels:
Silver Membership: This level provides a more budget-friendly option for employees who want to stay active but may be new to fitness or prefer simpler gym based workout routines. Silver members have access to a selection of 60+ mostly basic gyms and activities across Cyprus. It's an excellent choice for those looking for the pure gym experience that have already a set routine with little support required.
Gold Membership: Positioned as a balanced choice, the Gold membership offers access to 35+ diverse activities (including e.g. most dance, yoga, martial arts and other group classes) and allows to attend 135+ sport venues across Cyprus at competitive flat fee with up to 31 visits per month. This level is ideal for employees who want to explore various sports and fitness options beyond the pure gym experience.
Platinum Membership: The Platinum level represents the premium tier of SportBenefit.eu. It grants members access to the full spectrum of the sports and fitness scene in Cyprus. With Platinum membership, employees can not only use traditional gyms and attend group classes but also enjoy a wide array of premium activities. From renting a SUP or windsurfing board for a day on the water to challenging themselves on a bouldering wall, attending trampoline parks, playing tennis/ squash with their co-workers or enjoying thrilling go-kart rides, SportBenefit.eu Platinum members have the ultimate access to diverse sports and experiences is 175+ locations across whole Cyprus.
When was the app first launched and how many people does it employ?
In 2019, my co-founder and I launched a similar service in some countries of the former Soviet Union. It quickly gained immense popularity, drawing interest from both tech-focused and traditional sectors, such as manufacturing. Given its success and the political instability in the region that peaked in early 2022, I decided, like many other entrepreneurs with CIS-based companies, to establish presence into the thriving tech market of Cyprus.
Including former companies, we currently comprise around 15 highly motivated and driven professionals around the globe. Cyprus operations are run by a team of 3, but we are constantly looking to recruit top level performers that will help us to continue growing and promoting employee well-being across the globe.
How many users does the app have currently? Has it been embraced by the locals?
As of now, SportBenefit.eu and related companies have provided the most comprehensive sport packages to more than 500 companies across the globe.
In Cyprus specifically, we launched in the beginning of 2023 and have seen remarkable adoption across different sectors, including forex trading, digital marketing, software development, accounting, and financial services. The enthusiastic reception in Cyprus has exceeded our expectations. It appears that the Cypriot market was primed for a holistic well-being solution, and we had the privilege of realising this untapped potential. As a next step we aim to foster adoption in more traditional segments as in the end every employer can benefit from more engaged, productive and healthy employees. E.g. in Poland a similar service is the standard in most governmental organisations like hospitals etc.
Moreover, our partner sports locations' business owners have been equally enthusiastic about this opportunity to connect with the international corporate culture. They have eagerly embraced the chance to become part of the SportBenefit partner network, which has further enhanced the accessibility and diversity of sports and fitness options available to our users.
What prompted you to launch this initiative in Cyprus?
Our decision to launch SportBenefit.eu in Cyprus was primarily driven by the island's significant growth in the global IT and finance sectors. Cyprus has been experiencing a substantial influx of global companies and startups, many of which are choosing it as their headquarters. With offices scattered across the island and employees residing in various regions, Cyprus presented itself as a prime opportunity for our business model.
Attracted by a stable and generous legal and regulatory environment guaranteed by the government in Cyprus, many of our former CIS clients relocated their offices to the island, and their employees asked specifically for a similar service in Cyprus. While in other countries like e.g. Poland (where a similar service to SportBenefit.eu has been the standard for more than 10 years with e.g. >95% of tech related staff and not only using it every month), the market in Cyprus lacked a similar employee benefits related sports service. And all this despite the fact that the tax legislation in Cyprus regarding sport benefits to employees is one of the best (if not the best) in Europe. It really pays off in Cyprus to take care of the wellbeing, health and productivity of employees.
Did you face any challenges/obstacles or was it easy setting up your business on the island?
We were pleasantly surprised by the level of support we received from Cypriot authorities throughout the process of establishing our operations on the island. It's evident that the government places a high priority on making the business environment welcoming and accommodating for companies with innovative initiatives like ours.
While any new venture comes with its unique set of challenges, we found that Cyprus offered a conducive and supportive ecosystem. This included efficient administrative processes, clear regulatory frameworks, and a genuine eagerness to facilitate the growth of innovative businesses.
Overall, our experience in setting up SportBenefit.eu in Cyprus was notably smooth, thanks in large part to the collaborative and supportive approach of the local authorities.
Do you have any similar projects in the works?
Absolutely, we're keeping a keen eye on global trends and constantly listening to the feedback of our customers as well as users and are thereby frequently evaluating different projects that could improve efficiencies in companies, health, sport adaption or just add value to the tech ecosystem in Cyprus or even globally. We have some projects in our pipeline, but it is too early to reveal them. Ok. Maybe a smaller project I can at this stage - some of our clients had been asking for a corporate team sports league (6x6 soccer being the obvious one). Given the clear adjacencies to our base business, I think we simply owe it to the community in Cyprus to establish a well-functioning project in this sphere. Regarding this, please feel free to follow us on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/sportbenefit/mycompany/) regarding details in next weeks.