Julie-ann James, Paul Thompson & Jo Stone


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Today’s episode is unique. James invites a panel of professionals within the children’s swimming activities sector; Jo Stone, the co-founder of Puddle Ducks, Paul Thompson, an entrepreneur, founder, and executive chairman of Water Babies, and the swimming industry pioneer, Julie -ann James of Aquababies Global.

They have a great conversation debating current issues in the baby swimming industry, ranging from the difficulties in recruitment and training of apprentice swim instructors, to energy bills and how they’re affecting kids’ access to swimming pools. If you’re looking for information on how to navigate this unique niche as a startup, tune in!

Tune in as the panel speaks about:

  • Biggest challenges they’re facing in the baby swimming Industry at the moment
  • How they are going around huge demand for their services from parents
  • The most innovative solutions they’ve seen
  • The struggle in recruitment and training of apprentice teachers into the industry and the approaches they’re taking
  • Their reasoning behind the huge contrast in terms of employment after the Covids economic downturn
  • How they’re using technology in their practice and business (AI swimming tutor)
  • Challenges in infrastructure technology (pools) more around the UK
  • The one thing they’ll pick to solve most of these challenges
  • Golden nuggets for independent providers and startups around the swimming niche


… and so much more!


It’s really hard to find water space. The cost of living crisis at the moment has compounded that, so we’ve got pools now which are struggling to stay open.


I’ve been trying to vary and facilitate building your own pools for other companies. I’m branching out more to not just the franchise side but the consultancy side.


We have a lot of online videos that people can access all over the world to do basic stuff at home in the bath. I still remember doing a lesson in the shower during the pandemic.


We’d love to take on some apprentices, but we’re really struggling to find interest.


The overall health benefits for children that consistently swim over five years, they’re achieving academically more at school.

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