Athletes are increasingly perceived as important drivers of entrepreneurship and social change. As a result, increasing research and activity has attempted to engage athletes in both entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. Against this backdrop, the authors aim to provide insights on how high-level athletes in Germany understand entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship and their perceptions of (social) entrepreneurship as a potential career pathway.
A survey was designed for athletes to assess their social entrepreneurship-related skills and attitudes. This survey is based on Capella Peris et al. (2020) who developed and validated a social entrepreneurship questionnaire for use in the physical education sector. To deepen the authors’ understanding of the initial survey results, a structured focus group was conducted with an additional set of five high-level German athletes.
Both the survey results and the focus group indicate that athletes have reservations about starting businesses or social enterprises, and that formal support on the topic is limited.
This paper suggests numerous possible avenues for future research, both related to athletes and sport social entrepreneurship more generally. The authors also suggest that athlete career programmes need to provide more support for athletes who wish to venture in entrepreneurial activities.
This study answers numerous calls within sport entrepreneurship literature to further integrate athletes into research in the area.
Funding: This study was conducted through the European Network of Sport Education and was partially funded by the European Commission through an Erasmus+ Project Grant (603312-EPP-1-2018-1-NO-SPO-SCP). The funder did not influence the design, implementation or interpretation of the study.
Moustakas, L. and Kalina, L. (2021), "Sport and social entrepreneurship in Germany: exploring athlete perspectives on an emerging field", World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 550-559. https://doi.org/10.1108/WJEMSD-06-2020-0069
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