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ASU MorningMindshare Summary

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Written by Gabriel Ajala

Last Friday (Feb 28th), we held the first in our #MorningMindshare series held at Alive & Kicking HQ. We had some help from 2 young sports media enthusiasts Ali Humayun + Javaun Bance who are both part of the Leon Mann’s BCOMS Masterclass, which is a dedicated programme to have more BAME representation in sports media run by BCOMS in partnership with London Sport and The Mayor’s Office.

Below is a summary blog of the event written by Ali Humayun…

“The sky is big enough for every bird to fly without their wings touching.”

Doyin Layade’s heartening reference to an African proverb encapsulated the underlying theme of ‘The MorningMindshare’ – one of community.

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Layade is a FIFA registered sports agent who is currently serving as Managing Director at sports agency, Kairos Global Management. With a wealth of experience in both managing professional athletes and consulting national federations on governance and development, he is one of the most well informed individuals in the industry. As guest speaker at the event, his nuanced perspective offered an enlightening experience for all those in attendance, from experienced professionals to those looking to get their foot in the door. 

The MorningMindshare took place at the headquarters of ‘Alive and Kicking’, an award-winning social enterprise that is the world’s only not-for-profit ball manufacturer. Located on the bustling Hoxton Street in East London, the cosy venue attracted an intimate crowd that conversed over coffee and croissants. From managers at multinational sports brands to university students in attendance, it brought together a diverse group of thinkers with a shared goal of developing sports in Africa.

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Surrounded by a plethora of dazzling handcrafted leather footballs, the lively discussions and networking gradually transitioned into a keynote speech from Africa Sports Unified (ASU) founder, Gabriel Ajala. His captivating opening remarks highlighted the vision of ASU, to build a community that not only helps progress African sports, but also to debunk the many myths and stigmas that are attached to the Pan-African sports market.

This was then followed by a few words from Ben Sadler, CEO of Alive and Kicking. The charity organisation, which operates in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and South Africa, has produced over 800,000 sports balls since its inception and continues to use sport as a vehicle for social change in Africa. Ben emphasised his pride in being able to collaborate with ASU and further reinforced the importance of building a thriving network, which was greeted with nods in agreement across the room.

Gabriel then led the highlight of the morning – a candid Q&A session with Doyin Layade. Keeping in spirit with the event’s ethos of enabling a safe space for honest conversation, mobile phones and cameras were willingly tucked aside, as all those in attendance became fully engaged to hear the thoughts of Mr. Layade. The intimate session blossomed into an interactive discussion with attendees, which spanned from tactics to governance structures. Notably, it illustrated the abundance of opportunity and potential, as well as some of the challenges that comprise the pan-African sports business market.

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With the exuberance for the development of sports in Africa bursting beyond the vibrant venue walls, The MorningMindshare proved to be an uplifting reminder that, using the support of one another, those present could spread their wings and enable African sports to soar. It highlighted the value of networking and finding like-minded people to collaborate with, in order to reach our shared aim of witnessing a thriving Pan-African sports market.

Or, as Gabriel encouragingly concluded,

“let’s put this talk to action now.”

Written by Ali Humayun, BCOMS Masterclass

About the author

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Gabriel Ajala

Gabriel Ajala is the Founder of Africa Sports Unified. With experience working as a legal prefessional in London, he also has a masters in Sports Management and The Buisness of Football.

Gabriel has played Internations fooball, representing England as an England School boy. He has a passion for sports development within Africa and has previously worked with a few athletes including Rio 2016 bronze medallist.

He also sits on the board of Planet Sports Football Africa, a weekly radio show focusing on the African sports market.

LinkedIn: Gabriel Ajala

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