Aya Nakitanda and Kady Kanoute Tounkara are launching a foundation to support African athletes and their communities, with guidance from the Athlete365 Business Accelerator programme.
The six months of accelerated mentoring they received helped them set up a business plan and gave them the practical steps required to move forward.
You can sign up to take the Athlete365 Business Accelerator online course today and kickstart your own business idea.
Kady and I have been in sport for a long time. We’ve been to continental competitions, world championships and the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
While I was Chair of the Uganda NOC Athletes’ Commission and Kady was Chair of the Mali NOC Athletes’ Commission, we were on the same training platform for the Zone 5 Games in Rwanda and realised that both of us had the same goal: to support athletes from Africa in a meaningful and impactful way and work together from different parts of the continent.
THIS BROUGHT US TOGETHER, WITH A DREAM TO CREATE SOMETHING WHICH WOULD HELP AFRICAN ATHLETES AVOID THE SAME STRUGGLES THAT WE HAD, AND TO GIVE BACK TO THE CONTINENT, WHILE CONTRIBUTING TO SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
This brought us together, with a dream to create something which would help African athletes avoid the same struggles that we had, and to give back to the continent, while contributing to social and economic development.
One goal we have as part of this foundation is to host an awards ceremony in Africa to promote our unsung heroes from the continent, particularly sports and athletes that might not be recognised for their achievements elsewhere. We should start with recognition of our champions, because putting them in the limelight will bring other issues to light, like education, gender equality and so on.
A unique opportunity
With the Athlete365 Business Accelerator, I saw a platform that would really assist us with gathering our thoughts, seeing how we could formalise our idea into a serious venture, and visualising how to achieve our goal.
At first, we were just sharing ideas and beginning to put things together, but once we enrolled in the Business Accelerator, things moved quickly. Both of us have backgrounds outside the field of business, so the training and mentoring we received were really important for us. The educators were very experienced in the field of social business, and so we really felt that we benefited from them.
The fact that we had local experts to guide and support us in executing what we learned in the programme was vital, too. Our vision to have a continent-wide foundation is quite complex and unique, and the Athlete365 Business Accelerator has actually helped us achieve much more than we would have on our own.
Sport uniting a continent
There is so much that we want to do and achieve with this foundation, and we’re already getting a lot of propositions and new ideas from people who want to work with us and understand what we’re aiming for.
I have always felt that sport can be a tool that we can leverage to have an impact in broader society. One problem has been that those of us from the east or south of Africa don’t have that much contact with the west or north, so part of our vision is to have a base in both west and east Africa to create a true pan-African foundation.
The experience that we had with the Business Accelerator has been really helpful for keeping track of everything, and we really have achieved a lot now. We feel very lucky in the sense that we had this opportunity and that we were able to benefit.
For anyone else who has an idea of their own, you shouldn’t hesitate to enrol. It’s free, and the knowledge, skills and mentorship that you receive from the programme are worth every second that you invest.
YOU SHOULDN’T HESITATE TO ENROL. IT’S FREE, AND THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND MENTORSHIP THAT YOU RECEIVE FROM THE PROGRAMME ARE WORTH EVERY SECOND THAT YOU INVEST.