Northern Startups: The Sport Community, helping companies invest in sport
Startup: The Sport Community
What is it? Charity helping companies invest in sport
Founder: Dominic McGuinness and Paul Smith
Step into any press box or gantry on matchday at a Northern football club, and there's a good chance you'll see Dom McGuinness (above left). A fixture on the sports journalism circuit, he's the north west correspondent for TalkSport radio and has chalked up an array of World Cups, Lions tours and boxing world title fights for the likes of BBC, Sky and ITN.
He could happily fill his weeks with press conferences, commentaries and post-match interviews, but an appreciation for the power of sport has led him and a former Liverpool John Moores University pal, Paul Smith, to set up a charity, The Sport Community.
The pair first came together seven years ago, merging their skills - McGuinness as a media operator, Smith as a funding expert - to launch The Sport Business. With the recession biting and grassroots sports clubs finding it increasingly hard to survive, The Sport Business opened doors to funding, helping clubs to become more commercial.
The Sport Community, a newly formed sister company to The Sport Business, looks to provide a answer to sports funding at grassroots level by matching companies with local projects.
"There are a lot of companies who would like to get involved in helping sports clubs in their community," says McGuinness, "but they simply don't know how to.
"Our work connect firms with sports personalities, sports clubs, national governing bodies, local authorities and other charities and foundations. We ensure they gain positive press and publicity as a result of their desire to put something back into their communities."
It's recently matched one company with a local boxing club in south Manchester, enabling it to put on free weekly boxing sessions for women. A separate event at Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club was attended by Manchester United striker James Wilson.
McGuinness says they choose clubs, projects and causes that fit the company profile.
"As altruistic as it is, it actually works for companies on many levels," he adds. "It's tax efficient, good for morale and enthuses the staff."
The Sport Community is now looking to bring on a full-time member of staff in order to scale up, speak to more businesses and explore opportunities for plugging funding gaps with local councils.
"It's very rewarding when you see the results of a project and the impact it has had on the local community. We all love sport and that's what it's all about."