Simac is one of the so-called Founding Partners of the new BrabantSport Fund. This unique cooperation between the province of Noord Brabant and the Brabant business community aims to make people in all layers of society happier and healthier through sport. To achieve this, major sporting events are linked to social projects.
Sport is the connecting factor in BrabantSport Fund
"For me, sport is part of everyday life," says Simac's CEO Eric van Schagen. "By playing sports myself but also by enjoying sports as a spectator. Both actively and passively, sport provides happiness, health and connection, I am convinced of that. At the same time, we see in daily practice that 1 in 10 children is overweight, over 40% of young adults suffer from stress, one in ten over-75s feels lonely and over 50% of people with a disability do not exercise enough. With the BrabantSport Fund, we are going to pay attention to these themes with sport as the connecting factor."
Province and business community
At the cradle of the BrabantSport Fund are five driven CEOs/entrepreneurs: Robert van der Wallen (former owner BrandLoyalty, now investor), Edzo Doeve (DELA), Ben Mandemakers (Mandemakers Keukens), Dirk Lips (Libéma) and Eric van Schagen (Simac). Together with the province of Noord-Brabant, they are investing in the new fund. The starting capital is € 650,000, with the aim of scaling up to at least € 1 million within a year by attracting more partners.
BrabantSport Fund focuses on four themes
How does the fund work? Eric van Schagen: "The BrabantSport Fund actively searches for projects that focus on one of the four themes: overweight children, stressed young adults, lonely seniors and inclusive sports/more movement for people with a disability. We then link the selected projects to large-scale top-class sporting events. These events are brought to the region by BrabantSport. Through this connection, we generate a large reach and can therefore offer a great platform. We see these sports events as a catalyst."
Petanque in the neighbourhoods
A good example is the European Petanque Championship to be held in the summer of 2022 in 's-Hertogenbosch. The BrabantSport Fund links this major event to a project aimed at tackling growing loneliness and limited social contacts among the elderly. Prior to the tournament, small neighbourhood tournaments will be organised in Brabant cities. Older people are actively approached to participate in these tournaments. The finals will also take place on the Parade in 's-Hertogenbosch during the EC.
Eric van Schagen: "Sport is a very important binding agent. Because sport inspires and brings people together. I am convinced that with the BrabantSport Fund we can make the people around us healthier and happier through sport. And as Simac, we are happy to contribute to that."