At Virgin StartUp we're proud to support many social enterprises whose businesses are doing good at the same time as transforming the UK's startup scene. One such business is Find A Sporting Talent (F.A.S.T) - a business helping to nurture children who show early sporting promise. Based in the West Midlands, F.A.S.T are supported by delivery partners Shropshire Enterprise.
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
Find A Sporting Talent (F.A.S.T) is a unique social enterprise, launched to identify, nurture and mentor children who show early gifts and talents in a wide variety of sports.
Floor 1 to 2 – Where are you based?
The business has an office at Telford Enterprise Hub but works in schools across 14 local authorities of the West Midlands; from this central location we will expand to cover the nation.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
The revenue model creates income through coaching fees, parent contributions and sponsorships. Early identification of sporting talent is vital if the UK is to keep up with other countries. Gifted and talented sporting children can be missed in the efforts to keep the academic subjects on stream in today’s pressured education environment, and these years can never be replaced.
In a time when sport inspires so many people and lifts the spirits of our nations, we are on a mission to spot the country’s aspiring future stars. Find A Sporting Talent can vastly improve the interaction between youngsters and clubs/associations. This belief is the passion behind the idea. We will be working within schools, coaching and teaching whilst identifying children who we feel have the abilities to go on and achieve future success. We will be running a series of competitions and events (sponsored) that will give these children the chance to showcase their skills in front of established sporting stars, with a view to placing them with local amateur and professional clubs for continued advancement. Schools love nothing better than to have successful pupils as role models. Our Find A Sporting Talent programme will run alongside extra-curricular sports coaching and PE teaching.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
There are many coaching businesses that work within schools, however none that offer dedicated advancement programmes for the gifted and talented. This is left to the scouting departments of the individual sports and to the schools themselves, and hence in this niche area we are in the fortunate position of having no direct competition for this business.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
Our USP is bridging the gap between schools and sports clubs by becoming the market connector in early years talent identification.
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
The idea came as a result of a family’s lifetime dedicated to playing, watching and coaching sport. All of the family have been involved with all sorts of sports from early ages.
Neil has played cricket, football and tennis to quite a high standard all of his life, as well as watching all manner of sports and then turning to coaching. He is now a well-respected coach, having achieved success with amateur clubs and within schools. Neil has taken school sports teams to major finals, competing at venues including the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC. He is now helping the English Schools' Football Association by coaching county teams for Staffordshire. He's very proud of the fact that he has helped quite a few youngsters achieve outstanding success and placed them with professional academies. Neil still regularly plays football and tennis and has four sons, one of whom, Liam, is a partner in the business. Liam himself has played football, rugby and tennis to a high standard and has represented Shropshire at athletics events. Judy, who is Neil’s wife and Liam’s mother has created a ‘house of sport’ for the Davies family.
Floor 6 to 7 –How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
The business received £15,000 in total and also an incredible amount of support and constructive feedback. We are also looking forward to working with a designated mentor. Thank you Virgin for helping us realise our dream!
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
Without funding from Virgin, it would have been impossible to start our business. The money will be spent on equipment, marketing and the purchase of stock and other items, including the purchase of IT equipment and software which will be essential in the assessment stages.
Floor 8 to 9 – What’s your workspace like?
Most of our work is undertaken within schools and at sporting venues. Our office at the Hub is ideal as it is centrally based and can be used for meetings and coaching seminars and courses.
Floor 9 to 10 – Where will your business be in 12 months’ time?
In 12 months’ time, the business will be well established within the central part of England and recognised as the market leader for identifying sporting talent. We will have secured high level sponsorship for F.A.S.T competitions and events, and will be working towards the expansion of the initiative throughout the country.