Alumni Business Person of the Year entrant – Clare Challinor
Karate champion Clare Challinor has turned her lifelong passion into a business.
The gold-medallist, who still competes at world championship level at the age of 43, has launched Self Defence with Clare.
She wants people to be able to defend themselves if necessary but also to feel confident and empowered.
Clare, who started her karate training at the age of six, has a Staffordshire University sports scholarship and is currently studying on the Peter Coates MSc in Entrepreneurship programme.
She said: “My lightbulb moment came when speaking with a friend about self defence. Although it’s second nature to me, my friend said she would panic and wouldn’t know how to protect herself.
“Self defence with Clare was built on the foundation that anyone can learn and apply the techniques taught in the classes.”
Clare teaches one-to-one classes and group sessions, leads sessions in schools, works in conjunction with the police and runs sessions in corporate settings. Her clients include women in their 70s.
She offers private sessions for survivors of abuse meaning they can learn in a safe environment, often their own home.
She’s developing online sessions for people who would rather train remotely or are based in other parts of the UK.
Claire, from Sandbach, started working on her business during lockdown, launched it in 2021 and left her career in corporate sales in 2023 to work on her business full-time.
She also runs a karate dojo in Nantwich, where she has special educational needs classes for children who learn at a different pace or need a quieter space to train.
She added: “My mission is to build a society that is not afraid to live their lives to the full because of fear.
“Self defence extends beyond the physical realms. It creates a resilient mindset that proves invaluable in facing life’s challenges.”
Claire has entered the Alumni Business Person of the Year category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.