NEWS

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL PLATFORM FOR ATHLETES WITH DISABILITIES HAS BEEN APPROVED IN BELGRADE
30.01.2022
An international meeting, hosted by the Serbian Paralympic Committee, was held in Belgrade, Serbia from 27 to 30 January 2022, bringing together partners of the international initiative aimed at offering tools to boost entrepreneurship among athletes with disabilities. The online platform, created within the PARAdig /Dual-Track Careers for Para-Athletes/ project, in partnership between organizations with extensive experience in the field, including the European Paralympic Committee, the Ministry of Sport – Sweden, the Croatian Paralympic Committee, lays the foundations for the business and entrepreneurial skills, adapted to the needs of people with physical disabilities, in order to provide them with full personal and professional development. Bulgaria is actively working within the initiative in cooperation with the National Sports Academy "Vasil Levski" and the Bulgarian sports development association, which was represented at the meeting by Joanna Dochevska (Chairperson of BSDA) and Assoc. Prof. Stefka Djobova, PhD – a world-renowned expert in the theory and practice of adapted sports.

The ParaDig platform, developed within the project, is available at: https://paradig.eu/, and the access to it is completely free after a short registration.

For athletes in EU member states is still a vivid challenge to combine their sports training, events and competitions with their need to receive an adequate education with a view to developing a sports career-end strategy for their subsequent employment. With the greater focus on inclusion of people with a disability to take up sports (originally inspired by the hard-won success of the Paralympics) and the improvements to accessibility and the design of sports facilities, there are ever greater numbers of people with disabilities taking up sports, and becoming great athletes in the field. These athletes face the same problem of timetabling their dual pursuits, but they have several additional obstacles to deal with, in the process of training and in the process of getting prepared for employment.

There are roughly 80 million people in the EU member states that have some kind of disability; they divide into two categories:
• Definition 1: Those persons having a basic activity difficulty (such as sight, hearing, walking, communicating);
• Definition 2: Those persons limited in work activity because of a longstanding health problem and/or a basic activity difficulty.

PARAdig /Dual-Track Careers for Para-Athletes/ project is focused on the athletes form Definition 1 and applies this definition to people who despite their disability have, like the Paralympic athletes, had the courage, determination, inspiration and sense of equality to break through any supposed limits and achieved high performance as athletes. In the frame of the project will be developed entrepreneurship programs, as a form of self-employment. Those programs will include different stages, starting from (1) Finding out the athlete's own interests/passion and transforming it into (2) business idea; (3) how to set up a company; (4) how to find sponsors and how to pitch the idea – e.g. how to use their disability as an asset; (5) motivation; (6) leadership.

PARAdig project is co-funded under the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.