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5 Actions Government Must Take to Promote Sports Entrepreneurship in India In order to attract young and visionary entrepreneurs to the sports sector, the Indian government must increase funding and offer tax holidays for sports-based firms

By Sandeep Madhavan

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In a fast-developing country like India, there is a dire need to encourage non-traditional businesses which have a great potential to flourish and contribute to the country's GDP. Contrary to popular belief, such sectors don't receive the much-needed opportunity which they deserve in order to develop and grow into a full-fledged industry.

As we move into the futuristic age, the Indian government should be on the forefront to create a healthy environment for such businesses to thrive. Sports, a massive and potentially profitable sector deserves the space and support from the government just like any other traditional industry.

Here are five actions that the Indian government must take to promote sports entrepreneurship in India.

1) Recognizing Sports as an Industry

In a fast-growing economy like India, there is a tremendous potential for the sports sector to develop and achieve the status of an industry. Previously, the sports sector was considered a loss-making venture but with the boom of multi-sporting events and leagues that is soon to change. India, now hosts the Indian Premier League (cricket), Hockey India League, Indian Super League (football), Pro Kabbadi League and Indian Badminton League, all of which have aided in the growth of the sports sector.

As the sporting scenario in India is evolving, we are witnessing an ever-growing demand for sports entrepreneurship. This is the right moment to venture into the sports sector, where there is ample room to flourish. We, as a country, must award sports an industry status, given the fact that, now, India is not just recognised through cricket but also through other sports such as tennis, badminton, hockey, athletics and much more.

Once, sports is recognised as an industry, it can generate a large number of employment opportunities in the form of the apparel and equipment sector, sports medicine, sports tourism and other sport-related sectors.

2) Promoting Industry-based Sports Education Programmes

As the sports sector is well on its path to attain industry status, there has been a sudden demand for industry-based sports education programmes. We see a spurt in sport management programmes, sports medicines, sports tourism and affiliated sectors. This is a sign for the Indian government to take effective methods to promote programmes that cater to the industry-based sports education.

3) Increase Funds and Tax Holidays for Sports-Based Firms

In order to attract young and visionary entrepreneurs to the sports sector, the Indian government must increase funding and offer tax holidays for sports-based firms. This move will serve as an impetus in the growth of an industry which has a global presence. India has a great potential for sports entrepreneurship, thanks to the existing huge market but the lack of government initiatives have hindered the growth of this potential sector. We need to create sectors like SEZ for sport-specific companies which will aid the growth of the sports sector.

4) Assistance for R&D in the Sports Sector

The Indian government must invest in technological advances such as sports analytics to assist in coaching professional athletes. It must also provide wearables, sensors, and nutrition as per the requirement of the sport and the sportsperson.

Also, the government must invest in professional coaching which will increase the quality of guidance given to the Indian sportsperson. There is also a need to bring in performance apparel and equipment of international standard for our athletes. Lastly, partnerships with tech companies and progressive governments will attract the best talent in the sports arena.

5) Provide Land and Invest in Sports Infrastructure through PPP Model

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model works best for building sports infrastructure. Also, a long-term land lease will help to get adequate land to build such facilities. India being the second most populated country in the world has the ability to churn out athletes who can put us on the global map in terms of sports, other than cricket. We've already seen the rising stars in India putting on splendid performances, but the facilities provided to such brilliant performers are far from good. A perfect blend of private and public partnerships is the solution to the troubles India faces when it comes to providing world-class sports infrastructure to its budding athletes.

Sandeep Madhavan

Co-founder, Sportobuddy

Sandeep Madhavan is the Co-founder of Sportobuddy.
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