Social entrepreneurship for inclusive active leisure and sports
SPORTS INC. aims to develop a learning programme that gives (prospective) entrepreneurs, business owners and managers from the sports and leisure sector, as well as the civil society organisations, the knowledge, skills and competences to ideate, design, develop, implement and market a service (or product offer) adapted to the specific needs and circumstances of people with disabilities or special needs, either by turning around their existing business or create a new (social) enterprise.
According to the EU Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030, people with disabilities constitute 25% of the total European population. Despite of progress achieved in the last years, they still face considerable barriers in access to education, employment, recreation activities, and have a higher risk of social exclusion. The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the obstacles an inequalities. In order to promote their participation as citizens, it is vital to highlight the potential of people with disabilities and special needs, promote an open and welcoming environment and help them find their place in the various fields of life.
The emphasis must be on developing their autonomy and reinforcing their self-confidence and self-esteem through cultural, sports and recreational activities. In line with the trends to be more socially responsible and generate a social impact, more and more providers of sports and leisure activities are starting to design inclusive offers. In fact, in a society where consumers are increasingly aware about social causes, a significant part of them expects that brands and companies meet these expectations.
More socially aware consumers, in combination with an ageing population creates opportunities for the sports and (active) leisure sector to design products and services with a positive impact on society. However, there is a considerable lack of knowledge regarding how to design and organize them appropriately for this particular target group. SPORTS INC. connects the needs of the “endusers” with the opportunities the current tendencies offer to those active in the sports and leisure sector, i.e. the direct target groups:
(Prospective) entrepreneurs wanting to set up a business in the fields of inclusive sports and leisure; - Existing entrepreneurs in the field of sports and leisure who want to make a turn-around and make a social impact through changing their current activities towards inclusiveness;
• Civil society organisations working with and for people with disabilities, who want to set up their social enterprise as a means of giving their beneficiaries work experience and diversifying income, or train their beneficiaries to become (prospective) entrepreneurs.