Symbiosis, a close relationship between two symbionts, two organisms living in symbiosis. The relationship is built in a way both depend on each other for survival – or performance.

Think of the chills you feel while watching your favourite athletes perform. Although you are sitting on a bench, or on the couch, the adrenaline hits you – excitement, patriotism, joy and sometimes disappointment. Follow those chills when deciding if and who to sponsor – choose the sport you are passionate about. 

Entrepreneurship and sports have a million things in common.

Like athleticism; something you – as an entrepreneur – are striving for as well. Athleticism is the sum of  qualities, like strength and resilience, which make an athlete great. Or sportsmanship; ethics, fair play, respect and a hand shake after a good match. Commitment, goal setting, action plan… could all be added to the list.

In my opinion, as an entrepreneur your first goal should be to build trust, the Swedish steel kind of a trust. That said, pick an athlete who, based on the qualities above, will help you create that.

“Most of us gave up on sports around the age of 15 when transitioning to a level higher became financially unachievable.” 

Each athlete, same as each company, has a story.

And stories can be turned to a powerful marketing campaign.

Most companies decide on sponsorship for two reasons: take over the media space before competitors do or to simply (directly) sell more through athletes showcasing their products. Why not going beyond sending goodies to bloggers and try “giving something back” first?


H&M’s For Every Victory: Chelsea Werner, gymnast with a Down syndrome.

If you think good acts don’t bring the ROI (return of investment), you are reading the wrong blog. 

A noble act

Don’t give to get something back. Just give. Consider sponsorship first as a noble act where you are helping someone develop in sport – and in life. The biggest reward and your first ROI should be seeing that same people grow.


Ilze is a coach and an athlete based in Berlin, Germany. She advocates an active lifestyle and represents a generation of women who are empowering themselves through sport by being an amateur-level athlete.

The act of sponsorship goes beyond the sport. First, for most athletes financial aid helps them pay the sport-specific related costs to us known as the monthly bills. Second, good causes create a movement your target audience can either relate to or even take part in (meaning you are building a stronger bond).

Athletes who reflect your values

Look for a personality which reflects yours and your company values. Celebrity-like champions do not necessary make the best ambassadors.

Help a local team, youth, coach, adaptive or a master athlete. Support rescue volunteer groups or sport-related school projects. Their social (media) circles might be smaller, but their bonds with the surrounding community are closer and much stronger.


GRS Slovenia, a mountain rescue team: all members are incredible athletes doing a volunteer work to save lives.  Photo:

Set a goal together

Focus on projects rather than time – or set up a project and a goal together. Share the journey from start to finish while making a story out of it. Journal it through various media but put quality before quantity. 

Social media is pointless without a good relationship based on trust. Athletes with 100k followers might have an engaging crowd (comments, shares, likes) and a mighty reach but not necessarily  an audience which would trust them enough to buy items they advertise. An amateur level athlete, adaptive or master competitor, even a school or volunteer team, might have a lower stats of likes,  but a more carefully chosen audience and a stronger influence to the community surrounding them.

After all we feel most inspired by likewise athletes we meet weekly in our gym, our park, our town, our community.


Four women which earned a chance to represent an Olympic refugee team sponsored by IOC in Rio 2016. 

Read more: Team Powerful celebrates women who have to decided to make themselves powerful through sport.