THE University of Technology (UTech) yesterday made a major move to exploit the global opportunities in sport by launching the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)/Sport Entrepreneurship Project entitled "Development of Sports Business Value Chains in Jamaica" in Papine.
The project was conceptualised by UTech's Office of Development and Community Service "in response to the recognisable limitation in exploiting global opportunities in sport that can transform communities and in turn the Jamaican economy".
The cost of the venture is US$216,000, with the contribution of the IDB being $150,000.
The aim of the project is to "increase employment in the sporting realm, establish links between sport and other economic and social sectors in Jamaica, launch sporting institutions and programmes aiding to facilitate expertise in the field and provide opportunities for increased participation in world class sporting events both locally and internationally".
The project will run for a 12-month period, beginning this September, and UTech's vice-president of Development and Community Services, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, told the Jamaica Observer the legacy of the project will be the engagement of a minimum of 20 youths from poor inner-city and or rural communities as professional, semi-professional and national athletes in sustainable sport enterprises.
The MVP Club, which boasts two-time 100m Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, is a major success story at UTech and Hamilton said that is the model to be used to advance the project.
It is hoped a similar club will be established in Trelawny where UTech has opened a Western Campus.
"That would be one example of setting up a club in a community. We will pick other clubs in other communities in other sports where we will look at this model and modify it, depending on the sport, " Hamilton said.
The project has four components: Research and Market Analysis; Sports Business Model Design; Sport Business Model testing, and Implementation of a Learning, Communication and Catalysing Strategy.
"The thinking is that sports does have an impact on inner-city and rural communities because we have seen that. There is much more that needs to be done to impact the community, and that's quite obvious," she added.