How Africa Is Growing Sports Entrepreneurship

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Written by Dana Sanchez

A new global organization is encouraging Africans to pursue sport business education and launch their own sport businesses, according to a report in NorthernEcho.

The African Sports Business Association (ASBA) creates partnerships between universities around the world and business schools in Africa to develop sports business degrees and MBAs for African students. ASBA also promotes sports business in Africa, according to the report. Its website lists Beverly Hills, Calif. as its contact location.

By developing sports business degrees and MBAs for African students, with the support of global sports brands, the association hopes to play a significant role in Africa’s growth into a key sports business marketplace, according to NorthernEcho.

The association brings together a range of people in the field of sports from
around the world. Its executive team includes: Dr. Mombi Thairu, president & CEO; Kirsten Nematandani, vice president, Africa; Paul Marsden, vice president, Europe; Chris Chaney, CEO, Chaney Group Holdings; Henry Moyo, CEO, Cunda International Futbol; Isaac Mwangi, CEO, Athletics Kenya; Grace Kiraguri, MD, Icon Sports Marketing Ltd.; William Kinuthia, CEO, Rapids Camp Sagana; and Jack Brewer, international entrepreneur.

Ruth Crabtree, director of international development in health and life sciences at
Northumbria University in Newcastle, Northeast England, has been invited to join the African Sports Business Association as an advisor.

Crabtree was chosen by ASBA President and CEO Thairu, because of her extensive
knowledge, skills, contacts and experience in sports management, the report said.

Crabtree is internationally recognized as a sport management educator and has developed
programs for several overseas institutes. As an board member of the World
Association for Sport Management, she has extensive knowledge of sports development globally and access to high-profile leaders in sport, the report said.

“This partnership will benefit Northumbria, providing opportunities for student placements in African institutes, business schools and to work with members of the community in sports coaching programs,” Crabtree said.

ASBA has a goal of creating 1,000 sports-related business jobs for students from
Africa in five years. It will encourage women and girls to participate at every level in
sports, promote sports entrepreneurship and progress the development of sports business and sports business education in Africa.

The association is establishing a Students and Young Professionals Network for under-30-year-olds to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and inspire young people to be leaders.

Thairu founded ASBA and is also president of the International Multicultural Society for Sport and Entertainment, NorthernEcho reports.

In her new role as ASBA advisor, Crabtree will share her experience working on sports
education projects in Zambia with Northumbria students. The project sends students and staff to Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, to deliver sports coaching programs to children in
impoverished areas, and educates them on HIV and AIDS through sport.

“The ASBA is just starting out but I envision similar projects to the ones in Zambia,” Crabtree said. “We have seen how sports can be used as an educational and development tool.”

Crabtree will also co-chair ASBA Women Network to encourage African women to pursue sport business education and get into sport business careers, including launching their own sport businesses.