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More support for Singapore athletes to pursue career development

Nine more companies have joined the Singapore Sport Institute's spexBusiness Network, making it a total of 30 firms on board the initiative. 

SINGAPORE: Current and former national athletes seeking more support for career development have more options open to them, after nine new companies officially joined the Singapore Sport Institute's (SSI) spexBusiness Network on Wednesday (Jan 13).

The spexBusiness Network, which was launched in 2013 with seven companies on board, now has 30 different companies from 19 different industries such as telecommunications, information technology and retail.

The nine new companies on board the spexBusiness Network are Adidas, Agape Group Holdings, Foo Kon Tan LLP, Fox International Channels, HP Inc, Hyflux, NTUC FairPrice, PSB Academy and SAS Institute.

"It sends a very clear message that corporate Singapore is beginning to understand what supporting Team Singapore means and that they believe in the DNA of excellence in our athletes," said Ms Peggy Tng, deputy director of athlete services and development at SSI.

Through forming this network of companies from diverse industries, SSI seeks to offer national athletes career development support in the form of providing internships, apprenticeships, job placements as well as flexible workplace practices. A total of 62 athletes have been placed with these partner companies.

Employers said it has been beneficial for both parties.

"They bring to us discipline, spirit of teamwork," said Mr Koh Ching Hong from Borneo Motors Singapore. "They are highly intelligent and highly committed. So the type of values that they bring is what our company always looks for."

"The company has been very supportive by evening out my workload because my trainings are all in the evening, as well as giving me full-pay unrecorded leave when I have to go on training trips," said national softball player Cerigwen Ng, who is a management trainee at Borneo Motors Singapore. "(They) also gave me moral support during the SEA Games, that was very beneficial to me."

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu attended the launch and thanked the corporate community for their support.

TWO NEW INITIATIVES LAUNCHED

Two new initiatives were also launched on Wednesday under the spexBusiness Network.

As part of the new spexEntrepreneurship Programme, athletes who wish to set up their own business as a viable post-sport career option will be able to receive mentorship, access to resources and build connections with entrepreneurial individuals, networks and communities.

SSI will also be collaborating with Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) to provide athletes with mentorship and resources to kickstart their entrepreneurship journey. This would include matching athletes with appropriate entrepreneurs for one-on-one coaching sessions, providing subsidised office space rental as well as extending key databases.

Also launched on Wednesday is the Team Singapore Card, which enable Singapore athletes to receive various forms of discounts and incentives at retail outlets around the Sports Hub such as StarHub, Adidas and OSIM.

The benefits of the Team Singapore Card is extended not only to current Singapore athletes, but also former athletes who have represented Singapore in any major Games since the first Southeast Asian Peninsula Games in 1959.