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The business of sport

The last few weeks have been an exciting time for Northamptonshire sport, with the Cobblers and Saints both reaching important play off finals at Wembley and Twickenham respectively. And, as I write this column, The Steelbacks are – despite being interrupted by the rain – playing cricket in their second XI Championship match against Essex at Stowe School.

With spirits running high locally and the people of Northamptonshire getting behind their teams, I can’t help but think of the correlations between the world of sport and the world of business.

Sport is a powerful motivator and can inspire individuals and teams to achieve dreams and fulfil lifetime goals and ambitions. They encourage skills that can be easily transferred to the workplace – leadership, teamwork, positive mental attitude, increased productivity.

Many firms invest good money into nurturing these skills within their organisations, putting them through training courses – often using Northamptonshire Chamber Training - and teambuilding days, as they have been identified as valuable and important to their business.

Sports clubs are businesses in their own right too, employing local people, engaging with local sponsors and have supply chains of their own. According to research by Sport England, sport related economic activity generates a massive £1.375 million per annum in the East Midlands. The research also found the sport sector accounts for 1.8% of employment in the East Midlands which, at the time of the research, equated to 37,900 jobs.

At Northamptonshire Chamber, we are keen to work with our local sports teams, clubs and venues. We regularly host corporate hospitality networking events with Northampton Town Football Club and Silverstone Circuits are members of our exclusive Business Alliance Group, which works together to help to shape the future of business in Northamptonshire through more effective engagement with the broader business community and influencing policy on key business issues in the county via the Chamber’s lobbying and representation activities. We are also holding a Charity Golf Event on Wednesday 3 July at Staverton Park in Daventry. The aim of the event is to encourage people to play together, have fun and generate funds for our Chamber Charity of the Year, The Teamwork Trust.

Whilst sport is, on the whole, an extracurricular activity and seen by many as a hobby, we should not forget the valuable contribution it makes to our local economy – not just in terms of the revenue generated and employment opportunities it brings, but also in the positive attitudes it brings out in all of us when we do well and achieve the impossible.

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