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13 November 2014

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You are in: Oxford > In Pictures > Panoramas > Sport > Game Plan

At a rural school in Swaziland

At a rural school in Swaziland

Game Plan

Converting a passion into a business...

Climbing the corporate ladder just suddenly was not a challenge anymore. Business life in a multi-national oil company was no longer doing it for me. I had been brought up in Southern Africa during the Apartheid Era and South Africa was a new young democracy. Nelson Mandela was a great inspiration and a great influence on my life at the time. The question that went through my mind was, "How could a man spend 27 years in jail for his cause in making a better country for all those who live in it and still come out and forgive them?"

Now you can play cricket anywhere!

Now you can play cricket anywhere!

I felt that surely I could do a little bit to contribute and make a little difference to a country I had benefited from during my upbringing.  South Africa had been totally divided by apartheid.  During my formative school days I was not allowed any friends from any other races. I had never interacted with their cultures. We had been schooled separately, never allowed to play any sport game within the same team or against them.

I felt if I could create opportunities for youngsters of all races and cultures to interact and learn to play with each other, it would help them in later life.  Cricket was an obvious choice.  It had always been a passion. Cricket is a team sport where individual abilities, skills and aspirations play the major drive in winning.  Flicx as a company was created and was on track in carrying out my dreams and aspirations.  I developed the roll out plastic pitch, and it immediately allowed young players, from disadvantaged backgrounds to have the opportunity of playing cricket.  It could be rolled out into the middle of football, rugby and other sports fields, converting them into instant cricket fields.  We created and sponsored an Under 13 Night Series in South Africa; South Africans of all races were playing a game of sport together, where skills and ability and the will to win counted. And not dependant on the colour of one's skin.

In the meantime we had launched Flicx in the United Kingdom and Australia.  The England and Wales Cricket Board took to the portable pitch as a product that could get cricket going in inner cities and for areas where there were social needs. We rolled out 799 plastic pitches. 

Jo Thoenes and Richard Beghin

Jo Thoenes and Richard Beghin

We have continued to grow over the last ten years and we now provide a range of equipment and facilities that allow cricket to be set up and played at all levels.  We are still working with trusts such as the Youth Sport Trust, Chance to Shine Cricket, Williams Fund, Fitter Families and the Freddie Flintoff Academies and we continue to create new opportunities for kids to play sport and get active. 

I am often asked what I am going to do when I retire.  I reckon I am already retired as I am doing what I love doing; Converting a passion into a business.

last updated: 08/04/2009 at 15:08
created: 08/04/2009

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