MobiliseSME makes its debut in football! A successful cooperation between Helsingborgs IF and FK Priekuli
Janis Naglis and Arnis Melbardis are the sports director and technical director, respectively, at the football club FK Priekuli (Latvia), which has participated in MobiliseSME as a Sending Company.
Hans Eklund is a Swedish former football player who is currently the academy sports director at Helsingborgs IF (Sweden).
Helsingborgs IF hosted FK Priekuli for 1 month in Sweden thanks to the financial support of MobiliseSME.
– Hi, Janis and Arnis! Please, tell us a bit about your organisation and your professional path. Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME?
We are a Latvian football club founded in 2005 in the city of Priekuli.
FK Priekuli started from a previous club, Lode, which played during 1995-2002 in Latvia’s 1st division and achieved great results.
We both work in education, and sports and health activities are main targets for our club. Also, youth development is one of our main missions.
On the other hand, we decided to participate in MobiliseSME to have a broader view, to get new partners in sports, as well as experience from one of the best football clubs and academies in Sweden.
We found out about MobiliseSME programme in an EU website for new entrepreneurs.
– How about you, Hans?
My company is Helsingborgs IF, a well-known football club based in Sweden that has been networking with other clubs and interesting people for many years.
Janis contacted us for collaboration and he told us about the MobiliseSME programme.
We had no idea this kind of collaboration was possible and we thought it could be a good idea to expand the partnership with the Baltic countries.
Our main target is to grow as a football club and stabilize our performance in the top division in Sweden.
We also thought that our knowledge about the Baltic countries wasn’t so good in terms of what we can learn from Latvia to develop in our organization.
– From a business point of view, how did the collaboration with the Host Company contribute to your club, Janis and Arnis? Would you repeat the MobiliseSME experience?
The collaboration with Helsingborgs IF gave our company-football club’s administrative staff experience in the field of football in many ways, such as how to organize work in a football academy and how to work in a professional way and make things happen.
In addition, we got new contacts, acquired new and useful skills and a lot of new insights.
We would recommend to participate in MobiliseSME because this experience gives you fresh ideas and can help you achieve your future goals.
Thus, we would repeat this business experience and will continue to collaborate with Helsingborg IF.
– And how has this collaboration helped your professional development?
We got good experience on how football grounds are managed in Sweden and how to improve our FK Priekuli club’s infrastructure.
We got to know what is necessary for an excellent stadium grass growing and everything related to having the best facilities to organise games and trainings in football fields.
As mentioned before, we got about 10 new contacts and a lot of new ideas about football ground maintenance, which we will put into practice in the future work of our football club.
After testing a lot of techniques, you get more experience and knowledge about which ones are working better to fit the best for football ground.
– And with which knowledge, techniques or information have you contributed to the Host Company?
We have provided a lot of information about how we work the football grounds in Latvia.
At the same time, we have improved our knowledge in grass growing, grass cutting, field airing, and a lot of things related to the football grounds and stadium infrastructure in Helsingborg.
We have also improved both our language and professional skills, as well as our knowledge on how football trainings and games are organised in Helsingborg.
Thus, now we know better how to work with fans and game organisation.
Lastly, we informed our club board members and our local sport school members about our collaboration and future steps. We also wrote a newspaper article about our experience!
– What about you, Hans? How do you think this collaboration contributed to your company and personal development? Would you recommend participating in MobiliseSME?
The main goal for us is to have a good connection in the Baltic countries, which is a new market for us in terms of partnership. For example, we could go to the Baltic countries for training camp and footballs tournament.
We will probably go for a scouting and recruitment tour next year, hoping to find new players for our club.
We also got fresh ideas on how to work effectively in our organisation with structure and planning.
On the other hand, we had a lot of discussions about developing work on pitches and what kind of machines fit to the result we wanted.
I am interested in new experiences and projects like the one MobiliseSME offers. However, maybe in our case this kind of programmes are too long.
As a Host Company you need to be available for contributing with activities and help the Sending Company with practical things, but you also need to deliver a good work in your daily life.
Moreover, as a Host Company you also have some expenses in order to be a great host, and we are a football club with a low budget for representation.
Nevertheless, I strongly recommend participating in the MobiliseSME programme for many reasons. In my case, mainly because of the networking, good structure and guidelines received.
– Do you plan to continue the collaboration after the experience with the MobiliseSME programme?
Janis and Arnis: Yes, we plan to collaborate with our Host Company in the future and organise training camps in Latvia for academy students.
We will also prepare friendly games in Latvia against Latvian football academy teams.
At the same time, we will try to organise coach and administrative staff exchange visit in Helsingborg and also perhaps in Latvia for the Helsingborgs IF staff.
Hans: We have spoken about training camps and the possibility to play football tournaments in the Baltic region.
Maybe we will go to Riga for a youth tournament, but it depends on which budget we will have.
For the time being, we have no activities planned up to date but we stay in touch in case something comes up.
In a 3-year vision we want to go to Latvia for getting to know the facilities and the market for football players.
In terms of structure and organisation, we can held a lot of online meetings. If we need to strengthen partnership once more, time will tell.
– Janis and Arnis, last but not least, did you improve your knowledge of mobility of workers within the EU after your participation in MobilisSME?
Surely, as a Sending Company we improved our knowledge of mobility of workers in the European Union after our participation in the programme.
MobiliseSME helped our football club’s administrative staff in the best way to make and plan future collaborations with some new partners and, of course, to continue collaborating with Helsingborgs IF.
We are very grateful that we could take part in the MobiliseSME programme!