Knowing their careers as pro athletes have a limited run, more than a couple of Aussie sports stars have set up businesses on the side or launched a venture after they’ve hung up their boots.
From Leisel Jones to Robbie Farah, George Gregan to Lote Tuqiri, the businesses range from Italian restaurant Tiger Tiger (guess whose business that is) to social influencer startup HooZu.
Looking to further build the link between sport and entrepreneurship and encourage opportunities for greater collaboration and research across various areas, RMIT University has partnered with the AFL’s Essendon Football Club.
In terms of education, Essendon staff and players will gain access to online courses, ‘micro-credentials’, and RMIT’s Activator space and program, which is focused on helping students develop and launch their startup ideas.
Meanwhile, RMIT students will be given the chance to gain hands-on experience through ‘work-integrated learning opportunities’ with the club from next week.
Renzo Scacco, head of RMIT Activator, said, “As well as being provided with mentoring and professional support to launch real businesses, players and staff will be given the tools to harness their ideas, make pitches, solve real world problems with industry partners and road test other new business ideas that might come their way.”
The organisations stated they are also already looking at research opportunities around the likes of textiles, nutrition, and e-sports.
Olga Troynikov, associate professor and performance apparel research leader at the School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT, said she has been working with Essendon’s performance management team to explore the potential to research functional materials and sports equipment.
“In our collaborative research we consider the body of the athlete, the activity they have to perform and the conditions they have to endure in order to develop materials and material systems that work best with the athlete’s body,” she said.
“Our research and development of intelligent materials, garments and apparel systems has connected us with a number of major sporting brands at both professional and fitness enthusiast levels, so it’s exciting to be partnering with Essendon Football Club to explore even further.”
The university’s Ngarara Willim Centre will also be working with the club’s Next Generation Academy to provide tertiary learning and workplace up-skilling opportunities to Indigenous people.
Xavier Campbell, CEO of Essendon, said, “Our partnership unites two industry leaders, where the free trading of knowledge and experience will up-skill our people, grow our communities, enable us to respond to the challenges, and capitalise on the opportunities which are waiting just around the corner,”
The partnership follows the news of Queensland startup GO1 last week working with NRL player Johnathan Thurston on his education and training initiative, The JT Academy.
With GO1 facilitating online learning, the startup’s platform will host courses in areas including leadership skills, personal development, and stress management.
GO1 cofounder and CEO Andrew Barnes said, “Inspiring education and learning is at the very core of what we do at GO1.com. We’re excited to partner with an organisation like The JT Academy to help disadvantaged kids reach their personal, educational and career goals.”
Image: RMIT Activator hub. Source: Supplied.