Every individual has that one ability in which they excel in. For some it is music, some sports etc. That thing you excel in naturally becomes your passion. In most times, one only figures this out after trying out a number of things. This was no different for Amy Wanday, founder of The African Sports Network.
Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya Amy Wanday is the founding CEO of The African Sports Network, an organization that aims to empower and uplift African youths through sports. Her company also aims to increase engagement and awareness in the business of sport.
It is her passion for sports that drove her to set up this network. Growing up she was told that she could not take sports as a career but rather, as a hobby. She was also made to believe it to be a man’s world with no room for women. As a result, she sidelined it for a while and took it as a hobby rather than a profession. Like many others that make the mistake of pursuing what they are good at as a foundation for their careers rather than what they are passionate about, she almost became a lawyer. However, she did not like the idea of just being a professional, and somewhat believed that she could make a living out of her passion. Brookhouse School gave her the opportunity to refocus on sports, but later she realized that there are challenges in the industry. Her background gave her the inspiration to ensure that all those children with love for sports would not go through what she went through; a case of not being able to pursue their passion in sports professionally.
Amy is passionate about mentorship and guidance to Kenyan youth especially in the aspects of entrepreneurship, servant leadership and integrity. While presenting her organization on TEDx, she talked about focusing on shaping the future of sport in Africa. Her organization aims to activate engagement through sports and plans to later contribute in the expansion of the African sport’s business industry. They are activating engagement by hosting an annual sports business forum with a five-part strategy to help them reach their goals. They have an internally designed curriculum called the ‘The Drive Process’ adopted from a common entrepreneurial leadership curriculum. A process that teaches students to identify needs in the African sports industry. They also bring together a group of sports business people to inspire their students in understanding that the sports industry is a viable career path.
The network offers mentorship to ensure that each student focuses on their individual journeys to empower them to rise individually. They also invest on scholarships for their students, to ensure that the financial background is not a hindrance for anyone. The network also ensures that the students stay connected to their mentors and fellow students. Their recruitment is not gender-biased, but equally open to both gender participants.
Sport is mostly considered as an extra mural activity rather than a profession. It is those that are extremely good at it that maximize the opportunity to convert it from just a hobby to a career. This becomes discouraging for those that want to specialize in it, not necessarily as athletes or soccer stars, but in the background as professionals or business associates. The careers available in the field are not properly marketed to attract the interested parties. This is not only an issue in sport, but an issue in most of the fields that are taken as extra mural activities at school. We salute the initiative as it will give inspiration to leaders in other fields of interest facing similar challenges. Entrepreneurship cannot be limited to only office driven production, but any area that has an ability to convert a skill to a thriving business.
The African Entrepreneur Magazine