When was the last time you went out for playing and sweated your heart out? Today, we have more space in our devices to store games than we have the playgrounds to play in; kids prefer to play cricket on cell phones instead of going outside and playing with their friends.
Sudhanshu Fadnis, A National level Badminton Player and an ex-corporate, is set to change the way sports are being played at schools. Since his childhood sports had been an integral part of Sudhanshu's life and even during college he was the captain of university badminton team. A mechanical engineer by education, Sudhanshu worked with Larsen and Tubro for a year before he took the MBA path and joined National Institute of Industrial Engineering.
Post his MBA, Sudhanshu got a career spike as he got placed in the Risk and Analysis division of Ernst and Young where we worked for 4 years. Later he joined KPMG where he worked for another 8 years before giving it all up to follow his passion.
Even during his corporate stint, Sudhanshu constantly used to think about what he can do to contribute to the field of sport, only the clarity was not there. Sudhanshu quit in job in mid 2011 to startup and worked on the idea before launching in 2012.
Like most first-time entrepreneurs Sudhanshu also had big dreams and goals to reach the stratosphere, he named the idea as "Junior Sports League" which would foster the Olympic spirit among young children and reach out to half a million kids in 3-4 years, through different leagues and programs. But as time passed the idea had matured and has transformed into a fully fledged sports education program. He says-
"There is a tendency for reduced amount of involvement as a kid starts growing. Once the kid has reached the age of 12, the actual amount of involvement in the activities starts declining in India, while it is exactly the opposite of what happens in countries like the US and Australia, where till 12 they play multiple sports and then they start specializing."
What Sportseed does
Sportseed trains Instructors in their curriculum and then these people train school students in a proper way in different sports which thus helps students in lesser known fields like gymnastics or archery apart from normal games like cricket/football/basketball which has become the norm everywhere.
They have been helped by some of the best people in the respective fields for designing their curriculum including people like Sanjeev singh who is a Drornacharya award winner for archery. Grand Master Abhijeet kunte helped them design their chess curriculum among others.
Sportseed also runs after-school programs for kids who are exceptional in a field or have a deeper level of interest in a particular game. In a way Sudhanshu reminds me of the Pandora story when he says that he has approached over 300 schools since he started in 2012. Yes, the effort has paid off - they have expanded to over five states in Northern India.
Talking about challenges Sudhanshu says, "the objective (of schools) is that if you create infrastructure, you create value in the minds of parents in terms of the school being very good. And thus the importance of the structure to the whole sports program is lost."
Also Sudhanshu has an interesting finding regarding the mindset of the schools in different cities, He says "We find schools in tier-2 cities are more open to the idea, while the schools in tier-1 cities have a know-it-all kind of attitude and are difficult to convince."
Currently, they have a team of 9 people along with a few trainers working on a contract basis with them.
Talking about the Key lessons from his journey Sudhanshu says.
1) Experiment before you launch. It always helps.
2) Be passionate.
3) Package your product really well.
We wish them a great journey ahead.
Visit Sportseed here.
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