New business programme to help athlete-entrepreneurs
New programme will help budding entrepreneurs start projects
Bowling world champion Shayna Ng has had a "tough" two years juggling work and training.
While she co-founded a sports and wellness company and website SportSanity with a partner who has a Masters degree in business management, they both had to handle issues they had no experience in.
Now, Team Singapore athlete-entrepreneurs like Ng can seek assistance from a scheme under the umbrella of the Singapore Sports Institute's (SSI) spexBusiness network.
Launched yesterday at the Volkswagen Exclusive showroom, the spexEntrepreneurship programme links budding business owners among Singapore's national athletes with the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE).
Athletes under this scheme can tap on the expertise, experience and networks of ACE "mentors", and also receive assistance and advice in obtaining grants and subsidised office space.
Speaking to The New Paper, 25-year-old Ng said: "ACE is like an extra arm we can tap on to make our business successful. There is a pool of more experienced people there, with a lot more knowledge that they can share with us."
National swimming star Tao Li, who just set up her own academy at Temasek Club, is another athlete who may benefit from the new scheme.
"I need some advice on what type of grants small businesses like mine can get, and how to go about doing it," said the 26-year-old, who is starting a small trial class this weekend after receiving many enquiries.
"I'm also keen on working with schools on SwimSafer programmes, and maybe through this network I can find more opportunities to do so."
Guest-of-honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, said in her speech: "Under this programme... athletes can look forward to one-on-one coaching with entrepreneurs.
"They can find out more about what it takes to start a business and be plugged into larger networks of entrepreneurs, to connect with and take their ideas further."
The Team Singapore Card, which provides various discounts and incentives at the Sports Hub for past and present national athletes, was also launched yesterday.
Over 1,000 current and former national athletes, out of a pool of nearly 5,000, will get their cards soon, with others urged to approach Sport Singapore to get cards.
Card members will enjoy discounts with brands such as New Balance, StarHub, Subway and Osim, among other benefits.
In addition, nine companies were added to the spexBusiness network, totalling 30 corporations across 19 industries.
Some 62 Team Singapore athletes have secured internships or employment from this network, which was launched in 2014.
About half have managed to secure full-time contracts.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) football national captain Khairul Anwar, 29, is set to be a beneficiary under the scheme.
In April, the Republic Polytechnic health management and promotion student will start his internship with SSI's coaching department at the start of his final semester of school.
He said: "I've always had a passion for coaching and I want to give back, especially to CP football. I hope to learn more about coaching and sports science, especially biomechanics, during my internship."
What’s new, at a glance
Nine more companies have joined the network, with a total of 30 companies across 19 industries. This collective helps Team Singapore athletes secure internships, part-time or full-time employment.
The new scheme ties up with the Action Community for Entrepreneurship to help budding business owners among the national athletes set up their own businesses.
TEAM SINGAPORE CARD
Available to all past and present national athletes, the card offers discounts and incentives at retail outlets around the Sports Hub.
Team Singapore alumni may contact C Kunalan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.