On 5-6 December 2020, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation convened the South-South Entrepreneurship Academy Second Cohort 2020, on the theme of “Sports and Entrepreneurship”. More than 40 participants, speakers and trainers from 14 countries, namely, Bangladesh, China (including HKSAR), Fiji, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe joined the live training sessions. Mr. Christophe Bahuet, the Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and the Director of the Bangkok Regional Hub (UNDP) addressed participants at the opening of the training. “It’s very good to see that you are such a diversified group in terms of where you are from and who you are. As United Nations, we are very much attached to diversity, we respect and encourage diversity, and exchange among countries including South-South exchanges and cultural sensitivity”, said Mr. Bahuet. The partner and supporting organizations, namely Gratia Christian College, Cyberport, Youth Square and UNESCO Hong Kong Association also delivered welcoming remarks, reaffirming the value of sports in promoting physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, as well as the importance of entrepreneurship and youth engagement in developing economies. Partner organizations also highlighted the support they can provide to the participants in their respective areas of work and expertise.
The training took place over two days and consisted of lectures and workshops. The speakers and trainers included entrepreneurs who shared their experiences in starting a sports business, former and active professional sport players shared their knowledge on sport technologies required to improve t performance and health (e.g. injury mitigating technological aids). Experts and entrepreneurs in management, brand building, design thinking, pitching as well as compliance shared their knowledge to give students an overall understanding of how to start a business. Some of the speakers included:
Following the training completed on 6 December, participants were randomly placed in groups of three. Eight groups put together a business idea and a business plan in one week. The groups presented their plans in the Business Plan Competition on the 12th December. Innovative ideas were presented to the panel of five judges who included entrepreneurs, an alumnus of the South-South Entrepreneurship Academy, an academic, a startup incubator manager and a venture capital analyst. Names and titles of the judges are as below:
The top three groups as per the competition judges were as follows:
Second Runner Up: Mr. Walter Mwacha (Tanzania), Ms. Qin Li (China), Ms. Nway Eint Chei (Mynamar), presented N3XT which is a digital platform aimed at popularizing and gaining the benefits of traditional sports Through online training.
First Runner Up: Ms. Holy Rhema Soegiantoro (Indonesia), Mr. Kevin Oswere (Kenya), Mr. Ahdrian Senden (Philippines), presented Fit2gether, an application to connect people without access to sports facilities with nearby sports venues, as well as promoting the livelihood of local tailors and designers.
Winner: Ms. Cherry Lok (Hong Kong SAR, China), Mr. Jonh Paul Acuna (Philippines), Ms. Andiswa Gwala (Republic of South Africa) presented Infinity Ltd a virtual sports platform combined with sensors to correct sport postures and reduce injuries.
Other groups also came up with interesting business plans, such as a platform for virtual marathons, a camp and an app offering coaching programmes on sports, nutrition and mental wellness, a platform selling products for female sport lovers, and an organization offering financial knowledge and training to sports people to mitigate loss of livelihoods after retirement or injury.
The organisers captured some of the voices of the participants as follows:
“The call for the South-South Entrepreneurship Academy – to contribute to sustainable development through entrepreneurship and innovation – gives a light for the youth population in times of uncertainty. Having joined this program, I gained valuable insights into the flourishing sports industry, upgraded my capacity in terms of entrepreneurship skills, as well as knowledge of promoting social cohesion and sustainability. I’m extremely grateful that the organizers of the programme took the time to steer me in the right direction and gave me an international network.”
— Ms. Nway Eint Chei (Myanmar), participant of the SSEA Second Cohort 2020
“It’s my pleasure to attend the South-South Entrepreneurship Academy for the first time, which helped me to think out of the box. The training and competition also structured my idea and helped me to think of entrepreneurial ideas that can have global impacts.”
— Mr. Niokoe Kyando (Tanzania), participant of the SSEA Second Cohort 2020