T&T is missing out on billions of dollars revenue from the global sport industry. It’s a statement I have had to defend in the days after the 3rd Annual T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Sport IndustryTT Conference held last week at the Hyatt Regency on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.
I made the point that it is time for entrepreneurship in sport to become a serious part of the policy discourse. We ought not to let a limited view hold us back. There is no reason why T&T can not leverage the potential opportunities created by the outstanding achievements of athletes and teams on the global stage.
Why are we continuing to leave billions of dollars on the table? Unlike other countries that seek to diversify their economies, why is sport as an industry not taken seriously here on the twin-island republic? As we talk about net foreign exchange, as we talk about employment generation, why are we not embracing the opportunity?”
The difficult economic times could become the catalyst for the development of local entrepreneurship in sport as the days of ‘begging for handouts’ are over and reflected upon as a thing in the past.
We need to move sport, and the discussion surrounding sport in T&T from the baby bird approach where we sit in the nests with our mouths open, waiting for momma bird to drop food. We must embrace the reality of the concept and have the confidence to be apex predators.
The Conference was held under the theme ‘Youth, Young People and Women: Raising Awareness and Encouraging Entrepreneurship’.
Participants engaged in insightful discussions led by a cross section of experts and entrepreneurs in business, finance, sport, law, media and entertainment. The four key topics areas were ‘Creating an Entrepreneurial Eco-System in Trinidad and Tobago’; ‘The Political and Legal Environment that Fosters Entrepreneurship’s’; ‘How Do Potential Lenders and Investors Evaluate the Business Plan?’; and ‘Creating Human Connections That Build Brands and Drive Growth.
As much as patience is needed in the current economic climate. What is also required is bold and raw courage.
This isn’t the time to worry about who may feel you are talking foolishness.
The way I see it we must go brave, we go forward and full of confidence.
The truth of the matter is sitting still will only result in things going from bad to worse.
It’s time for us in sports to get up and get. Not tomorrow, but today!
Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the organization.