Becoming a successful entrepreneur and building your own business from scratch, during or after the end of your athletic career, is definitely something admirable. But that shouldn’t be your endgame. If you can combine your commercial skills with social issues, you can create positive changes in the society and improve the lives of people around you. This is the notion behind social entrepreneurship, a constantly growing field, which is gaining popularity and attracting lots of talented individuals and funds.
Social enterprises work to solve social issues by using money they make by selling something to consumers, or by using grants and government money. Their success is not only measured in terms of financial profit, but with the positive change they manage to make in the world, however that is defined.
Athletes have been leading social change throughout the course of history and some people argue that they have a pivotal role to serve as role models for the fans and followers. Living in a sports-focused society, at the intersection of sports and business, athletes have the power to reach people from all different walks of life.
Fortunately, many athletes, have taken advantage of the power that stems from their sports fame to become social entrepreneurs and launch successful social enterprises, that aim to make a difference and help the world become a better place:
- Spanish international soccer player, Juan Mata, has partnered with football charity organization, Street Football World, to launch his charitable movement Common Goal. Footballers’ who sign up for the cause pledge 1% of their salaries to a central fund that is allocated to high-impact organizations that harness the power of football to advance the United Nations Global Goals.
- Successful Indian American professional tennis player and Princeton graduate, Shikha Oberoi, launched her media and lifestyle company, SDU Seva Inc., in 2013. Using the power of sports and television, she made six documentaries to push towards people becoming more involved in positive social reform within India. Through her media company in India, she has also created a reality show that is used as a platform for social entrepreneurs to gain visibility.
The secret to a successful social enterprise lies not only on focusing on a cause you are passionate about, but following the same principles as building any other business:
- As a Money Smart Athlete, you should, if you haven’t already aligned yourself with a charitable cause or mission that you deeply believe in. Giving back to the community is not only a moral obligation but a way to show your deep altruism and an important component of your brand. If you need to decide on a cause, you can ask yourself: What are the things happening in the world that make me feel like I want to change them and make them better?
- You can research organizations that are already involved in the cause about which you feel passionate. If for example you are passionate about sports and its power to change the world you can visit sportsaid.org.uk or www.streetfootballworld.org to see how these organizations are making a difference using sports as a tool.
- Use your free time to volunteer for organizations that triggered your interest so that you can learn even more about them. An athlete volunteer, can always attract more people to the cause and increase media attention.
- Set a clear, big-picture goal for what you want to achieve. For example, you want to organize international soccer matches with famous ex-players to raise money for bringing electricity to rural areas in Africa. Your network and connections, from the sports industry such as coaches, ex-teammates, etc., can be very useful.
- Take action and make a difference!
It is a really difficult task to set off to change the world alone, so we are available to be your trusted advisor in your next venture to create a positive change. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss your ideas for launching your social enterprise.