A Lancaster University student received royal approval from the Duke of York for his martial arts business enterprise Kaizen Academy.
Ze Macedo, 22, collected The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award from the Duke himself at a special awards ceremony, organised and hosted by the University of Huddersfield.
Kaizen Academy is a mixed martial arts gym in Lancaster which seeks to improve the experience of training martial arts by providing intelligent and structured martial arts training in an open and friendly environment.
The instructors, whose specialism include Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, teach from their own syllabus and use an innovative learning framework based on principles rather than techniques.
The academy has also developed a revolutionary online system where all gym members can access the syllabus, review lessons and track their own progress to achieving their next belt. This system is attracting the interest of other gyms and technology investors. Kaizen Academy was co-founded by Ze Macedo, a third-year politics, philosophy and economics student from Portugal, along with four other Lancaster graduates. Their goal was to deliver the mental and physical health benefits of mixed martial arts in an inclusive and intellectually stimulating way.
Ze said: “I’m extremely happy that what we’re creating at Kaizen is being recognised and I hope this award will help us spread our message.
“We truly believe martial arts are the ultimate real life video game. Just like in a video game there are objectives, competition, customisation, progression, collaboration and just like in a video-game you can do it in a way that suits your personality and schedule. Our aim is to create community of people who all have fun playing this game and levelling up together.”
The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards are presented to the best business or social enterprise led by a student or graduate entrepreneur that demonstrates commercial or social impact.
Kaizen Academy is the third business Ze has been involved in starting during his time at Lancaster University.
His other ventures have included a business selling kits of kitchen utensils to new students with partnerships at more than 30 universities before being sold to the market leader, and also an online platform that enabled students to offer room cleaning services to other students. The online company employed over 60 people.
Simon Harrison from the Lancaster University Enterprise Team, which supports the entrepreneurial culture at Lancaster University, said: “We were delighted to nominate Ze for this award as he’s consistently demonstrated an entrepreneurial approach to university life, spotting opportunities and taking risks, trying new things and building on his learning from every situation.
“His vision for Kaizen is clearly a synthesis of his passions, his study and his philosophical and creative outlook.
“The gym is already building bridges between students and the local community and transforming perceptions of martial arts. He sets a great example of other FASS students to follow.”