The world is changing. Initially, sports was seen just as an extracurricular activity. Nowadays, people are being encouraged if their talents are in sports to take it further. Various careers are developing that revolve around sports. Opportunities have been created by different stakeholders such as the development of sports academies, sponsorship of sportsmen, and a lot more. With this kind of energy seen in the sports industry, there is constant innovation. Sport as an industry is amongst the world’s largest and affects other industries including education and tourism, which have an integral focus on social innovation and social entrepreneurship.
So what is social entrepreneurship?
Some people start businesses to improve the quality of their lives, others seek to work for themselves, and some simply see an opportunity in the market that they can’t resist. But sometimes the thing that tickles the entrepreneurial spirit is the desire to use business as a means of creating positive change. This is what constitutes a social entrepreneur—making a social impact. Professionals in the sports industry have sought to come up with a new realm of entrepreneurship—sports entrepreneurship; which embeds the identification of conditions and procedures in which emergent business ventures with a social orientation are formed.
In an exclusive interview with world record holder athlete Lornah Kiplagat — the renowned athlete explains what was behind the launch of her training camp in Iten, back in the year 2000. The High Altitude Training Centre, which was exclusively for women, was a centre she set up after her experiences years ago. She explains a situation where she had to sleep in the restroom the night before a cross-country competition.
The High Altitude Training Centre now has been further developed and it is open to all. It serves as one of the best 400m tartan tracks in Kenya, outside of Nairobi. It’s a place you should definitely visit. A critical look at this and you will see that Lornah emulated two key things—innovation and social impact. The social challenge back in the days was the substantial level of inequalities between the male and female gender—especially in talent showcasing.
Lornah was able to find the balance between the two aspects of social entrepreneurship and link it together with her interest in sports—and this is what sports entrepreneurship is all about. It is beyond owning a business and gaining profits. Lornah recently launched her own cloth line dubbed Lornah African Sportswear, which seeks to serve the global scope in providing sportswear that looks great, feels good and different from other brands. She noticed the lack of a African sportswear brand in the market and launched her own Kenyan-inspired brand. Here are 5 African Sportswear brands to know.
Well, this is not the only way one can make impact socially.
Here is Nairobi, we have Urban Arena Kenya . It is one company that is integrating sports and community development together in the local community. The story behind it was as church event at Citam Woodley, after which there was need to develop the local talent. The company organises tournaments which aim at identifying and moulding young talents from humble backgrounds in footbalBesides the talent management, the company sponsors talented individuals through the Urban Cup Charity Foundation.
That is how sports entrepreneurs engage in innovative activity that enhances their ability to use creatively and sports as their resource tanks. They are people who enact ideas, information and practices for the purpose of engaging in business. Their cognitive capacities enable them determine products and services that currently do not exist in the market.
Ratten, V. (2011a) ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Sports’, International Journal for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 1(1): 42-54.