SPORTE AVIS’ CO-FOUNDER NYUS ALFRED IS DEAD SET ON TRANSFORMING SAINT LUCIA’S SPORTS LANDSCAPE
Nyus Alfred recently returned to Saint Lucia from the 2018 Youth Leaders of the Americas Initiative which pairs regional leaders with established international agencies in their field. The opporunity, he says, has been one of his most rewarding thus far though his ownership of Sporte Avis has yielded a long list of accomplishments including the award for Outstanding Youth in Entrepreneurship and a placement at the Commonwealth Youth Conference on Entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year. Despite being known for its media work, development through sports is at the crux of what Sporte Avis does. Alfred and his team’s focus is to consistently curate resources to support local and regional athletes in their pursuit of sports scholarships, university enrolment and recruitment by international sports clubs.
STAR: HOW DID THE IDEA FOR SPORTE AVIS COME ABOUT?
NYUS: When I first got the idea to start Sporte Avis I was working at a bank.
That was back in 2013. Myself and Yanoi Fevriere, who is a friend and a co-founder, we’re both sports lovers. We were talking back then about the fact that there were platforms to basically promote everything from entertainment to tourism but there was nothing promoting our athletes and sports in Saint Lucia. Initially we talked about starting a sports magazine but when we got the quotes from publishing companies we realized we could not afford then to do anything in print. We decided to run Sporte Avis as an online platform; we worked on the concept and in 2014 we officially registered the business name. Our intention was to start off as a social enterprise geared directly towards providing exposure for talented and specifically at risk young people. We had no money-making objective because at the time we were both gainfully employed but, as the years went by, things had to change to become more sustainable.
STAR: HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO JUGGLE YOUR JOB AT THE BANK AND SIMULTANEOUSLY SPEARHEAD SPORTE AVIS?
NYUS: I’d like to believe that I had an amazing team. Like I said, I started off with Yanoi Fevriere, and Yanoi was a fantastic support at the time. We were handling everything well but at one point we realized for what we wanted to accomplish, we needed a strong team to do it. So we started reaching out to other passionate, young people we knew who could contribute. The team has been really instrumental and that’s what helped me create that balance between work and Sporte Avis at the time.
STAR: HOW HAVE THINGS EVOLVED, BOTH FINANCIALLY AND IN TERMS OF THE WORK THAT YOU ALL DO?
NYUS: Sporte Avis is still a social enterprise but we had to find creative ways of generating revenue. For instance, after we put out some really good work, the OECS noticed and gave us assistance by helping us launch our website which we basically use to sell advertising.
Also, in 2016 we had a show on Winners TV called “Youth Sport Express” that was a source of revenue as well, and from then we’ve been doing a lot of the same work. As of recent, we’ve gone into television production where we produce the sports content for Choice TV.
Our main work, however, still centres around the athletes and giving them that support that they need to get their names out there and to get the resources they require. We help them with profile videos they can use when seeking recruitment and give them advice on things like college application. Everything we do is at no cost to the athlete.
STAR: HOW DOES YOUR TEAM MANAGE TO DO THIS WORK THROUGHOUT THE CARIBBEAN?
NYUS: Well I must admit that we have been heavily focused on Saint Lucia but we do have a few correspondants in other countries who would provide us with information on the proposed athletes. We’ve interviewed quite a few athletes from across the OECS and worked with some from Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts. Over the next year or so we really want to build up on these networks.
STAR: WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME?
NYUS: Definitely funding. There are grants available for the same work that we’re doing but we’re not eligible for them because technically we’re not registered as a non-profit and, in order to access these funds, your organisation needs to be a nonprofit or an NGO.
Another problem is that in Saint Lucia everyone wants everything for free. The way some approach us is usually, “We want to work with you; it would be good exposure to get your name out there.” Essentially they want to collaborate but do not want to pay us.
STAR: WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEAVE OUR READERS WITH?
NYUS: We’re always looking to work with athletes across Saint Lucia in all sports. Our services will continue to be at no cost to them as our main goal is to ensure that they get as much as possible from their skills. We already have athletes from Saint Lucia currently in university on full and partial scholarships and people like Caniggia
Elva who plays for Wurzburger Kickers in Germany, because they use the God-given talent that they have to get to that level. A lot of athletes say they don’t know about the process to get to the next stage so we’re always willing to assist them. As long as we have the resources available, we’re always open to speaking to anyone.
To contact Sporte Avis visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/sporteavis, the website sporteavis.com or call (758) 728 0259.
Nyus Alfred at the 2018 Youth Leaders of the Americas Initiative in Detroit.Alfred believes and lives by the mantra, “Everywhere you go you must leave your mark.”