Johan Cruyff Institute organizes a round table with entrepreneurs from the sports industry who present real projects to the students of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Johan Cruyff Institute invited six entrepreneurs from the sports industry to participate in a networking day on February 14 with the students of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Gonzalo Podgaezky, CEO and founder of ClubControl; Sergi Playà, founder of Becrit; Ana Llaudet and Prosper Rigot, founding partner and operations and finance director of Penguins Barcelona, respectively; and Christian Lupión, CEO of Naru Sports, responded to the institution’s invitation to come and present their projects to the students and participate in a round table in which many questions arose about the process of bringing your own project to market in the world of sport.
“The best advice I can give them on how to innovate is, above all, to have experience in the sector”, Gonzalo Podgaezky (ClubControl)
“The best advice I can give them on how to innovate is, above all, to have experience in the sector. If you have really detected a problem, having lived it yourself is the best way to be able to solve it”, says Gonzalo Podgaezky. ClubControl is a startup dedicated to the management and planning of sports clubs. Through this platform, the club has control of all the information it generates and can access it easily and intuitively: planning and creation of training programs, 360º communication, statistics, and team and rival player analysis are some of the possibilities it offers. “You have to be multidisciplinary and learn so many things—from how to manage being an entrepreneur, to how to ground your ideas, and you even need to have notions of marketing, and a lot more things.”
His experience in the world of gastronomy led Sergi Playà to investigate in the sports nutrition sector and launch a product that has already been talked about in national media. Becrit is the first insect protein shake in Spain that comes in three flavors and as a sustainable alternative to meat. For Sergi, “Enthusiasm is fundamental. When you start a project it is very important that you feel it, that you believe a lot in it because it is hard at first, it is not easy to start, especially at the beginning when you do not have much capital. And another very important recommendation is never to think about money at the beginning. You really need it, you work for many hours and no money comes in, but you mustn’t only think of the money because the project will go wrong”, says this young entrepreneur from Barcelona.
“Never think about money at the beginning; you really need it, you work for many hours and no money comes in, but you mustn’t only think of the money because the project will go wrong”, Sergi Playà (Becrit)
Believing blindly in your business and going out to see the world to ensure that their company was born with solid values is what Ana Llaudet and Prosper Rigot did to create Penguins Barcelona, a swimming school for families where they offer classes for children, babies and birth preparation courses. “For me, the most important thing since the beginning has been to believe a lot in my project. I really thought that, in Barcelona specifically, there was a need for a swimming school for children and babies. This project has always been very natural and real and never thinking that we wanted to make money, but concentrating on wanting to do something well. That’s why we went to many countries to see swimming schools, and see why the children were so motivated swimming and, from there, create a solid starting point and a project that families would really like”, explains Ana.
“For me, the most important thing since the beginning has been to believe a lot in my project”, Ana Llaudet (Penguins Barcelona)
Doing a market study before taking the plunge is something that Christian Lupión, CEO of Naru Sports, strongly recommends to anyone who wants to create an innovative business. “A project should have the ability to go to market, to be tested before. I think that many companies decide that with their great ideas they are capable of launching innovative and incredible projects, but we never go out to the street to test the public’s opinion to assess whether our product is sustainable, profitable and interesting for the customer”, says Christian. Naru Sports is a company that contributes to the professionalization of women’s sport and was organizer of the first international women’s campus of FC Barcelona, among other projects.
“A project should have the ability to go to market, to be tested before”, Christian Lupión (Naru Sports)
Everything they heard in class will help the students to develop their own Master Final Project (MFP) within a few months. Learning from the experience of others is something that they value very positively. “We learn a lot from these people who have already implemented a project on their own. They are an example for us and inspire us to do things that we might not have felt we were capable of”, says Isabel Cabrejas. What attracted the most attention to her classmate Rubén Machado was that “these people were in the same situation as us a few years ago, and sometimes ideas that you imagine are not going to be realized are the ones that ultimately take shape and have positive results.”
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