Digital Entrepreneurship: Combining sports and business
Create digital business ideas and technologies for startups with our master's degree programme Digital Entrepreneurship. Photo: AtLAS

Digital entrepreneurship: A promising training for athletes

Andrea Kling,

The master programme Digital Entrepreneurship offers novel opportunities to people with a desire to start a business. Among these entrepreneurial minds: athletes.

Athletes have an outstanding potential to become high-performing business people. In their sporting career, they acquire extraordinary skills that are also crucial to entrepreneurial success. Furthermore, athletes tend to build strong digital affinity due to their mobile lifestyle.

On that score, the drivers for athletes to engage in entrepreneurship are manifold. They reach from exploiting the existing athlete brand, available key resources (such as specific knowledge, potential financial resources or networks) to first-hand experience of possible market gaps to societal motivations like the willingness to create change for underprivileged population groups.

To investigate further in what way our Digital Entrepreneurship programme might benefit and meet the demands of this particular student group, we asked for the opinion of a true expert in the field. Wolfgang Stockinger, former athlete himself, is the founder & CEO of the first Europe-wide dual career consultancy TW1N. TW1N supports athletes and their ecosystems in linking the worlds of sport and education. In his professional life, Wolfgang has impacted the personal pathways of hundreds of European athletes. Moreover, he has provided advisory services to international policy-makers, sport and education institutes and EU-funded projects. Regarding the latter, TW1N is currently involved in the project AtLAS (formerly: AtLETyC) of the FH JOANNEUM Graz which runs a short postsecondary entrepreneurship training for athletes.

Further fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalisation is a core element across European political agendas, not least in the area of sport policy. This development comes with steadily growing opportunities for athletes to apply their unique profile in entrepreneurial contexts. Regardless of their undergraduate discipline, advanced training in business and technology will help them professionalize and innovate their practice to prepare for excellence; just like in their athletic careers.

Wolfgang Stockinger

Meeting a role model

Athlete role models in digital entrepreneurship deserve a closer look. One of them is Alexander Leichter, Austria’s first-ever rower to participate in the world-famous “Boat Race” between Cambridge and Oxford.

Subsequent to a successful dual career, Alexander has co-founded the international logistics company byrd in his twenties. byrd provides scalable and digital e-commerce fulfilment solutions to online stores. In the following short video, he sat down with Wolfgang to reflect upon the importance of creating a company culture.

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The Digital Entrepreneurship programme of the FH JOANNEUM is organised in a work-friendly manner. Classes are held on-site from Monday to Wednesday (9:00 a.m.-18:00 p.m.), weekends are free. The eLearning quota amounts to 20%.

Given this type of organisation, I see the training primarily eligible for 2 types of athletes with entrepreneurial ambitions. Former athletes who aim to use this master to prepare for future or nurture existing business ventures. Current athletes with geographic proximity to Graz who can adjust their training regime around the study curriculum and compete on weekends.

Wolfgang Stockinger

If you are an athlete interested in our programme, please get in touch via fill in email address. Our team is happy to answer all questions you may have regarding the master in Digital Entrepreneurship.

Tip:

Find more information on TW1N at www.tw1n.eu and Instagram.

Find more information on AtLAS at www.athletesasentrepreneurs.eu and Instagram.