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Increasing employment opportunities for sports leaders in Ghana

African football manufacturer Alive & Kicking and International Inspiration (IN) are piloting an innovative new programme to grow entrepreneurship and incomes using the knowledge and talent of young sport leaders in Northern Ghana.

Alive & Kicking’s holistic business model works to promote social and economic inclusion through the production of African leather footballs made in Kenya, Ghana and Zambia. Factories in the three countries employ local community members, targeting women and the disabled, to strengthen local economies and provide durable sports equipment suitable for tough African pitches. The new programme will extend the social and economic opportunities by giving the entrepreneurs the opportunity to put their business knowledge into practice.

Twenty-four year old Saibu Seidu joined the Access and Empowerment programme because he believes that play should be made more accessible and shares the same vision as Alive and Kicking. “As a teacher I have children at heart, and Alive and Kicking shares the same vision, so I see this as a very important initiative,” he says.

“It has changed my life by putting money in my pocket by selling Alive and Kicking products, also it has enlightened me to know how to write a business plan and linked me to people I did not know before,” he continues. 

The programme aims to give 300 youth the opportunity to be formally trained and connect children at schools with high quality sports coaching and training.

Just months into its implementation, it has already supported over 60% of sport leaders taking part in the initiative to create income streams for themselves or their families, which did not previously exist. Youth who are either out of work or employed in the informal sector were recruited through two sport and development organisations: Right to Play and Soccer Babies. The programme provides them with high quality entrepreneurship training and an introduction to finance and management skills. This is then followed with the task of selling the locally manufactured footballs to schools, leagues and individuals. Early evidence suggests that the sales from schools strengthens school partnerships with local sport and development organisations and provides sustainable networks of clients. Entrepreneurship serves as a critical function in job creation to support sustainable economic growth and in countries such as the USA, small businesses provide 55% of all jobs. 

A number of community-led marketing ideas have come from participants of the programme to incentivise and raise awareness of the Alive & Kicking brand, including in-kind advertising on local radio shows and community challenges. High-profile support from members of the national Ghanaian squad have also helped boost the balls popularity and sellers are able to develop sales pitches to include these endorsements.

Find out more about Alive and Kicking.

The Access and Empowerment programme is supported by Comic Relief