Aball1 goes international
Aball1 is at least three things at once: it is a ball that can be rolled, thrown and dribbled. It has letters, which can encourage writing and love of reading. And it has numbers, which can challenge aspiring mathematicians and number-crunchers.
“We have already convinced most schools in our own region. Now the rest of the world beckons”, explain the enthusiastic inventors, Glenn Andersen and Tor Sandnes.
The two friends from Årvoll have worked with children and children's sports for more than 20 years. After the Aball1 invention was hatched one sleepless night in 2010, things have moved quickly. So far, 300 ball sets have been sold in Norway, mostly in and around Oslo. Around 70% of all the schools in Groruddalen already use the concept.
“The true potential is much, much bigger. There are as many schools in the East end of London alone as there are in the whole of Norway”, say Glenn Andersen and Tor Sandnes.
Next stop for Aball1 is England. The British are known for their long-standing tradition of football clubs getting involved in the community, whether in the fight against obesity, or to promote numeracy and writing skills.
“Most football clubs in England have their own “In the Community” programs that get involved with the local community and are in contact with thousands of children”, explains Glenn Andersen.
Gladiator has already established a company in England, which employs Kieran Nokes. Kieran Nokes has previously worked for the Football Association, and has already established contact with a number of clubs in the Premier League. So far, the creators have received overwhelming feedback from the UK. ”This is borderline genius!”, said John Shields of Manchester United’s In the Community, after seeing a demonstration of the creative ball game.
“More and more people are discovering that Aball1 is an ingenious tool to promote movement and teamwork, while at the same time helping children and young people to learn numbers and letters”, explains Tor Sandnes.
Over recent years, Gladiator has received support from, among others, Ferd and Ferd Social Entrepreneurs. Now the hunt is on for new investors, who will help Gladiator to make the leap into the big world.
“Numbers are universal, letters are used throughout the world, and all children in all countries know how to play with a ball. This is very much an international product”, the two inventors explain.
The founders offer enthusiasm and commitment. Now they are looking for an investor with a big heart, who would be interested in putting money on Aball1 achieving its objectives. This could provide a sound return over time - which might be topped off with a samba party in Brazil?
“We know someone, who knows someone, who knows the soccer legend Rivelino. And just think of Brazil. With 200 million inhabitants, this is a huge market. Guess whether we are ready for the Maracanã stadium!”