In order to be successful, you need to find a burning need within your community.
- Player: Marina de Lange
- Franchise: Sport For All
- Branch: Geluksdal
- Established: August 2015
- Franchised In: 2005, Sport For All (SFA) is a social franchise, which means that it uses the methods of commercial franchising to achieve social goals, specifically economic empowerment, healthy lifestyles for children and youth employment.
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Marina de Lange started operating an SFA franchise in her town of Geluksdal at the beginning of August 2015.
When Entrepreneur spoke to her towards the end of August, she had already signed on around 100 kids. Below is her perspective on how the franchise works, and what it offers franchisees.
On who this franchise is aimed at
“SFA is a social franchise that’s primarily aimed at uplifting the community. Because of this, franchisees need to be very engaged in their communities. You need to care about your community and be very involved in it,” says de Lange.
“If you open a franchise for the right reason – to help those around you – you’ll be very happy with Sport For All. It makes getting a sport programme off the ground so much easier because you’re provided with a turnkey solution. All the sports equipment needed, for example, is provided for you.”
The sports on offer
“The great thing about Sport For All is that it allows you to offer a wide variety of sports. For example, here in Geluksdal we offer popular sports such as cricket, rugby and soccer, but we also offer dancing. So there is something for everyone.”
The importance of competition
De Lange doesn’t just offer sports activities as a way of killing time and keeping kids busy. Many of her teams compete in official leagues.
“Sport For All allows you to enter your teams into official leagues, which is very important. Kids want to compete. They don’t just want to kick a ball around for an hour. They want to be part of a team that competes against others. Competition provides a sense of purpose, which improves participation,” says de Lange.
Why members need to pay
“If you don’t pay for sport now, you’ll pay for rehab later. Sport offers a sense of belonging that could otherwise easily be filled by gangs or other negative influences.”
This is what de Lange says when people ask why they should pay for their kids to take part in her Sport For All training sessions.
Prior to launching a Sport For All franchise, de Lange ran a soccer programme that allowed local kids to take part without paying. When she took on a Sport For All franchise, she switched to a pay-for-play model. Unsurprisingly, there were a few grumbles.
“Initially, community members wanted to know why they suddenly had to pay,” says de Lange.
“Membership is very affordable – only R20 per child– but in a community such as Geluksdal, that’s still quite a bit of money. However, there are very good reasons for asking people to pay. Firstly, people become far more invested in something if they actually have to pay for it. If something is free, it’s all too easy to undervalue it. Secondly, a programme becomes self-sustaining this way. Without membership fees, this sort of community programme is dependent on charitable contributions, which means that it tends to operate in fits and starts, only providing a service when money is available.”
Opportunities for growth
“I’ve been amazed at how receptive the community has been to the Sport For All model. I never thought that I’d sign up close to 100 kids in less than a month. I thought that there would be more resistance to the membership fees, but people really understand that it makes the various sports programmes sustainable. My aim is to have 300 kids signed up within three months, and I don’t think I’ll struggle to do it.
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“At the moment, I’m focused on providing programmes for children, but I want to expand to provide programmes for adults as well. A lot of adult community members have already approached me, asking if adults can take part as well. So there’s a lot of room for growth there,” says de Lange.
“Sport For All provides great training for those starting up a franchise,” says de Lange.
“I received two weeks of full-time training, which really prepared me for the operation. Particularly useful was the information on communicating with children. SFA really prepares you for interacting with kids. I also received very useful first-aid training, which is crucial in a sports-training environment.”
For more information, visit www.sportforall.co.za.