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Transformative kickboxing studio springs to life with SBA business loan

April 30, 2019 | Small Business Loans
Transformative kickboxing studio springs to life with SBA business loan

It’s more than just a destination for a sweat-dripping, high-intensity workout.

Jessica Silbaugh’s downtown San Diego gym, 9Round, is a space that has transformed real lives.

Clients who’ve walked through the doors of this East Village hub have gained confidence, dropped several pant sizes, and weaned off of blood-pressure medications.

You can tie these dramatic results back to 9Round’s full-body workouts, its trainers and the camaraderie of fellow kickboxers.

How the exercise studio came to be stems from a confluence of factors.

They involve everything from a longtime dream of owning a business, an unconventional passion for both martial arts and finance, and a business loan that arrived at the right time through nonprofit lender CDC Small Business Finance.

How fitness and business is ‘the perfect marriage’

Transformative kickboxing studio springs to life with SBA business loan

Jessica Silbaugh holds degrees in business and she’s trained in boxing and Muay Thai.

Silbaugh, a Colorado native and current San Diego resident, has dreamt of owning her own gym since high school.

Even though she’d go on to pursue a career as an accountant, her passion for health and fitness never faded. In fact, she became a disciple of boxing, the combat sport of Muay Thai, and bodybuilding.

Related: Checklist: Top Docs You’ll Need for a Small Business Loan

When she discovered the red-hot franchise 9Round, she immediately saw her seemingly diametrically opposite worlds collide to become one. And it became clear this was the next major move in her life.

On paper, the practice of accounting couldn’t be farther from kickboxing. To Silbaugh though, there are clear parallels. With both crafts, you need to be technical, analytical and strategic to be successful, she says.

“It was the perfect marriage of my passion for fitness and my business background,” said Silbaugh, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business.

Kickboxing franchise: ‘We cater really to everybody’

Transformative kickboxing studio springs to life with SBA business loan

9Round San Diego opened in San Diego’s East Village community in April 2018.

9Round is a nationwide franchise best known for its signature, rapid-fire kickboxing workout. With no set class times, you can drop in at any time and complete your nine-round circuit training in 30 minutes flat.

With a trainer there at all times, the program is designed to push up your heart rate and your body into calorie-melting mode. Someone’s always there to cheer you on, whether it’s your pumped-up trainer or a fellow trainee.

Related: Should I Buy a Franchise? Top 5 Questions You Should Answer First

Bringing 9Round to downtown San Diego would not only allow Silbaugh to combine her love of business with fitness. It was also an opportunity to make kickboxing accessible to clients of all ages, shapes and sizes in the area.

“We cater really to everybody,” Silbaugh said. “We’re not necessarily a fighters’ gym but we definitely take on technique and teach you how to kick and punch properly.”

With SBA loan, everything fell into place

Transformative kickboxing studio springs to life with SBA business loan

At 9Round San Diego in East Village, members push themselves and each other.

After finding the perfect commercial space to house her gym in San Diego’s East Village area, Silbaugh needed a small business loan to bring her vision to life.

Specifically, she needed funds to build out the storefront shell, buy equipment and inventory, and provide working capital for the business, she said.

Related: Are small business loans hard to get?

By way of SCORE, a well-known business coaching center, Silbaugh came to find CDC Small Business Finance. CDC is a community lender with a 40-year track record in providing affordable business financing to underserved communities.

After submitting documents and working with an experienced loan team, Silbaugh discovered while on vacation that her loan was approved.

“I was excited because I knew that everything was falling into place just like it was supposed to,” Silbaugh said.

What’s the experience like with CDC Small Business Finance?

Silbaugh called the loan process through CDC Small Business Finance “fairly easy.”  It involved completing a loan application, providing requested documents such as tax returns and business projections, and staying in close communications with a loan team until the financing was approved and funded.

When Silbaugh learned she was approved for an SBA business loan, relief set in. The approval, she said, meant she was that much closer to getting her doors opened.

Related: How co-working hub used loans to fund extensive construction costs

“I knew I could fund the project, but it (the loan) just made it a lot less stressful to know that if it took longer than I thought it would (and it did) that I would be covered,” she said.

“I am very happy with how I was treated at CDC and how efficient they were at navigating me through the process,” she added.

Post-loan funding: What’s happened since?

After her June 2018 grand opening, Silbaugh has already seen her business create positive waves in her community.

The most satisfying part of owning her business, she says, is seeing the transformations in her clients. Day in, day out, 9Round members are becoming healthier, thanks to their 30-minute workout routines. It’s manifested in weight loss, getting off prescription drugs, avoiding going on medications; and boosts in self-confidence.

“It’s been so satisfying hearing my members say ‘Thank you for opening’ and seeing the change in my members,” she said.


Are you ready to break into entrepreneurship like Jessica Silbaugh did? Named SBA’s 2018 Microlender of the Year, CDC Small Business Finance can expertly guide you through the small business loan process to get you funded.

Tell our loan experts about your existing or future business, and they’ll work to match you with an affordable loan that best meets your needs.

Let’s talk! Reach us at loaninfo@cdcloans.com or (619) 243-8667.


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