I have come to understand that if an opportunity passes me by because I stood by what I believe, then it wasn’t mine in the first place
Cynthia Mumbo has made it her life’s purpose to influence and grow the sports industry in Africa. After having worked in a number of blue chip companies for more than a decade, she quit formal employment to start an entrepreneurial journey that would leverage on her passion and fulfill her dreams. Her company, Sports Connect Africa, focuses on connecting and empowering sports stakeholders in Africa.
Sports Connect Africa currently manages the Junior NBA League in Kenya, runs the Africa Sports Business Mixer, a networking forum for sports stakeholders and manages the Vikapu Elite Basketball Camp, a sports development camp for young people under 18. For her work, the 37 year old State House Girls High School alumni was recently awarded the top 30 under 40 Leaders in Sport, a prestigious global award for personalities who are shaping sports business around the world.
Cynthia has served in the Executive Committee of the Kenya Federation as a co-opted member, is the secretary general for the Kenya Basketball Women’s Commission and serves as an advisory board member for the Hype Sports Innovation. She talks to Damaris Agweyu about her relentless quest to actualise her dreams and empower others to do the same for themselves.
Cynthia, what motivated you to get into the business of sports?
I was motivated by the fact that I was both passionate and exceptional at sports yet it did nothing for me, I promised myself I would create opportunities for other people who may find themselves in similar circumstances. And so I made it my mission to understand why it is that sports works in Europe, America and Asia and not here in Africa. Why couldn’t I go home saying that I am earning my salary from doing what I love to do, which is sports? Why aren’t more people deriving their entertainment from sports rather than in bars? How come we don’t see more people patriotically following local sports? This bothered me and has continued to bother me for a long time. That’s why I got into this space. My son who is 11 says he’s going to be the fastest man in the world and I agree with him so I must create an avenue for him to be able to practice, hone his skills and live out his dreams.
Has it always been sports for you?
Always. I wanted to become a top athlete by the time I was 5. When I got to high school, every university prospectus that I picked up had a sports management or sports science component. I knew that wherever life took me, sports would always be a huge part of the journey.
What is your sport?
I have two, running and basketball. I used to be a sprinter. I then discovered basketball when I was in high school and the first day I threw a basket ball towards the net, it went in and I knew this was it. For most of my life, I’ve always either been on a basketball court or on a running track.
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