Dreams of sport development
Iréne-Mari van der Walt
What started as scouting for a venue to establish a sports academy ended in Fanus Engelbrecht being appointed as the CEO of The Dome in Swakopmund.
Engelbrecht took the bull by the horns and reimagined The Dome as a sports hub in Namibia and an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Roughly a year after Engelbrecht took office as CEO, The Dome would be recognised as Namibia’s first, and so far only, high-performance sport centre.
Engelbrecht says more than anything, he hopes that The Dome will be relevant to its community. “If we do not stay relevant and we do not invest in the things that are important to our community, The Dome will become a white elephant,” he says.
With this in mind, The Dome has ushered in a programme that aids sport development among street kids as well as welcoming a pre-school to operate on the premises. The Dome also now gives more autonomy to its stakeholders.
“I give far more freedom to the clubs to host events so they can invite the community in. We also moved away from constantly having events that require paid entrance,” he says.
He dreams that The Dome will be a forerunner in a future sporting revolution for Namibia. “I would like for The Dome to become part of a national sport development plan in the long term. I want us to be relevant to Namibia,” he says.
Before Engelbrecht took up management of The Dome, he believes the environment encouraged exclusivity but Engelbrecht assures that he has changed and will continue to bring change at The Dome to make it accessible to all.
“I think we’ve become far more accessible to the average person. The Dome used to house an exclusive group but we are less exclusive now,” he says.
Another vital part of The Dome ecosystem is job creation. “It is not enough anymore that we look for jobs, we must create jobs. The Dome highly values the cultivation of an entrepreneurial spirit in our entrepreneur factory, as well as among employees,” says Engelbrecht.
He believes that entrepreneurial thinking is not only an asset to employees, but also to The Dome as an entity. “An entrepreneur is a problem-solver; an entrepreneur thinks creatively and an entrepreneur is independent. These are all qualities that make not just a great entrepreneur, but also a great employee.”