In just a few days from now, the eyes of the footballing world will be focused on India as we get ready to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup. It will be one of the biggest sporting events that the country has ever hosted, and will be an incredible opportunity to showcase our talent on the global stage.
This tournament only serves to show the great strides that India has made as a sporting nation over the last few years. Also, the entire nation has started recognizing sports as a viable career option for youngsters.
Gone are the days when you had to choose between a handful of career options, as sports has opened up a wide range of job opportunities. With a huge market that has largely been untapped, it is also no surprise that new age entrepreneurs are trying their hand in this field.
In order to help people embrace sports even further, several corporates have started opening up new doors to young and hungry talent. One such visionary is the founder and CEO of SHM Sports, Mona Motwani.
We had an exclusive chat with her, in which she addressed several wide ranging questions in regards to sports in India today, the business potential and the what does the future look like for sports in India.
What are the challenges you face in India as a sports entrepreneur?
There are various challenges-
(1) Society mindset towards sports
(2) Lack of attractive policy towards sports investment
(3) Lack of capital support for sports business
I expect these challenges should rectify soon and the overall environment for sports business in India would improve significantly.
What are your plans SHM Sports and how do you want to contribute?
SHM Sports is a medium for corporates, organizations, educational institutes to develop the sports culture in India. We not only promote sports and organize different events but also into sports infrastructure, facility operations and management.
We wish to contribute in Sports Industry by developing a strong ecosystem. Also, I believe schools play a major role in this chain, for which we have an attractive proposal for schools where we will manage and operate their sporting division on their behalf.
What do you tell the young job aspirants who are interested to build their career in sports?
Sports is an interesting industry to work for youngsters since it is a very dynamic field and there are diverse career opportunities in the sports sector and in India sports-related jobs have also started offering attractive pay packages.
In next five years, sports industry would require highly trained manpower in the various sectors of sports from specialized trainers in sports sciences, sports analytics, sports marketing, sports broadcasting, events, coaching, sports facilities, administration, sports education, sports law, etc. etc.
Work hard to learn the tricks of the trade to be a serious player in the sports industry. Professionals in sports will be in great demand and today, there is a serious dearth of talents in the sports job market in India. But in next few years, we would see greater competition in the sports job market in India too.
In what way do you think the Sports Industry can contribute in the overall employment market of India?
Sports Industry would definitely need a significant number of skilled manpower to hit double-digit growth.
Sports sector would be able to create an attractive number of employment opportunities for youth and with the skill development initiatives in the sports sector, the youth would be able to improve the sports employability potential.
This sector would also need a specific focus and strategy to create a higher number of highly employable youth.
Why do you think sports participation in India is very low?
There are various reasons behind this; the biggest is our education system, which only encourages high academic marks. Overall, there is not much incentive in the system to be part of sports and especially in urban areas there is absolute lack of neighborhood playfields.
The school system is largely responsible for encouraging sports participation; Children should get the right exposure to physical activities, which will in turn be productive for the overall health of the nation.
The government must act swiftly; otherwise, our health care cost would go up by 10 times.
We are already diabetic’s capital of the world and our obesity rate is alarmingly high, which indicates how lifestyle diseases are eating our economy and impacting the productive capacity of the nation.
According to you what should be done to encourage more women into sports administration in India?
We are proud of our women athletes who won Olympic medals in Rio 2016 and also wish PV Sindhu continues rise high in the world badminton. Trends are changing and girls are entering into sports but till the time we don’t see more women managing sports in different capacities, we won’t see a significant number of girls playing different sports.
The administrators who are managing different sports must encourage more women to join the sports sector in different capacities. Here, the sports governance structure plays an important role and every sports organization must have a minimum number of women in the decision-making roles and thus we will see a change coming.