An Interview with Sports Entrepreneur from IISM- Bhushan Malani

Bhushan Malani is IISM alumnus from Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management Batch 2017-20. He is a national level athlete who decided to pursue Sports Management and contribute towards the ever-increasing sector. While studying at IISM, Bhushan established a venture of his own named TheNurtureCulture. With this venture, he aimed to assist Indian athletes achieve their goals whilst maintaining their nutrition balance with Indian traditional cuisine. He happened to research about the Indian Nutrition market and introduced solutions to the need of athletes.

Here’s a written interview with Bhushan that aims to show a way forward to future Sports Management professionals and Entrepreneurs:

  1. What does Sports mean to you?

-> Sports has been an integral part of my life from the age of 10. I started my career in sports with athletics and that has helped me cope up with many difficult situations in life. I wasn’t really a studious student and found my interest in sports. Sports taught me to fight losses and not let the pride of winning states get into my head. Important life skills of communication, people skills, time management, etc. all were imbibed in me by sports. After winning 40+ medals and completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management from International Institute of Sports Management, I can safely say that sports has made me who I am today and it means the world to me.

  1. When did you decide to study Sports Management?

-> Being a national level athlete, I was able to find out the flaws in the management of top levels tournaments and competitions. That is when something sparked in me to learn more about organizing and managing sports events. During this research I came across Sports Management as a field. Fortunately, IISM was offering a bachelor course in sports management that too from Mumbai University as compared to its counterparts who were either offering a degree from unrecognized ones.

  1. How was your experience at IISM?

-> IISM has given me various opportunities where I could learn practical application of the theoretical knowledge being shared in classroom. Along with that I also got to work on multiple sports reports covering several aspects of sports management. All in all, IISM gave me a studying and learning environment which only the top business schools/colleges usually provide.

  1. Tell us about your venture TheNurtureCulture

-> TheNurtureCulture was started to help Indian athletes achieve their goals by following or eating their traditional cuisines. TheNurtureCulture believes in eating patterns based on an athlete’s gene and not any particular diet trend. No diet trend has ever stood the test of time but our very own traditional diet. Just how Yoga in spite of being originated in India was neglected by Indians, the same is happening with Traditional Indian cooking & eating habits.

TheNurtureCulture is not only about what to eat. For TheNurtureCulture what’s more important than what to eat is how and when to eat. TheNurtureCulture doesn’t believe in diet and dieting. We believe in Nutrition and Nourishments. Therefore, TheNurtureCulture doesn’t provide you with a diet plan. Instead, what it does is give you a Nutritional Plan and guide you to a healthy lifestyle because, one will achieve only by the Nutrients absorbed from the food and not the calories taken in from the food.

  1. What did you aim at while establishing your venture?

-> TheNurtureCulture’s Mission is to become “One Stop Solution for all Your Sporting Needs.”

TheNurtureCulture’s Vision is to see “Indian Athletes becoming champions with the help of their own Cultural eating patterns.”

  1. How has your journey as a Sports Entrepreneur been?

-> I would say that it was a pretty interesting one. When people came to know what TheNurtureCulture was all about, they were amazed by the concept but still didn’t want to pay the fees because they thought many apps and websites are providing ready fitness regime for free. This made me realize the need to educate people on the importance of having a personalized fitness regime that is backed by science and their genes. All in all, I can say that I have learned a lot through my venture, but to clock higher revenues I will have to invest in a lot more money, educate people first and sell later.

  1. In what ways did IISM contribute to you flourishing as a Sports Entrepreneur?

-> Studying sports management at IISM, I got in depth knowledge about the field of sports and how the backend stuff works. While studying at IISM, thanks to Amitava Pal Sir, I got an opportunity to work on reports related to sports nutrition. During these reports, I had to do a lot of research work and that helped me in starting up my venture – TheNurtureCulture. Post that, guidance from IISM just kept increasing. Karan Mange Sir helped me in establishing an online presence and in digital marketing as well. Rahul Shah Sir was always there supporting me in every aspect possible. He not only helped me in understanding customers mindset better but also helped me in making the business card for TheNurutreCulture. Every help that I needed was provided by Amitava Pal Sir, which kept me motivated to keep continuing.

  1. Tell us about the evolution of Sports Nutrition in India, in your view.

-> Sports nutrition has evolved a lot in the last 5 years, there is no doubt in it. People are becoming more aware about the importance of eating healthy and more and more “healthy” restaurants/hotels have come up. But unfortunately, this development was fuelled by western culture. In the sense, Indian origin herbs & spices were demeaned as bad for health and abroad/foreign products were promoted and marketed as healthy. The best example would be the ad of “California” Almonds. In my view, this needs to change cause to become champions in sports on a global level, we need to eat what’s local because “that is what is in our genes.”

  1. Importance of Sports Nutrition. How is it different from Nutrition in General?

-> I lost my national level gold medals majorly because I wasn’t aware about sports nutrition at that time. So, having a proper nutrition is extremely important for athletes because it is like the deciding piece between loosing and winning. Sports Nutrition is not only about eating right food. It is about eating right at the right time in the right way and in right quantities. That is exactly the main difference between a diet and nutrition plan. That is why I always call myself a sports nutritionist and not dietitian. While a normal nutrition plan focuses only on macro nutrients, Sports nutrition has to focus on both micro & macro nutrients, a sports nutrition plan also needs to consider the training time and durations and the daily schedule as well.

10. Is Sports Nutrition required for E-sports athletes too?

-> On an average an esports player makes 500-600 movements per minute, they practice from anywhere between 3 to 10 hours a day. Their heart rate also touches 200 beats per minute at times, which is similar to that of an F1 racer. So, I think these stats are staggering enough to prove the importance of a proper nutrition in an esports athlete’s life. As a matter of fact, I have worked as a sports nutritionist at Global Esports as well.

11. What sets your venture apart?

-> The awareness and understanding of Indian herbs, spices, foods, etc and their use to benefit ones physical and mental health is the main aspect that differentiates TheNurtureCulture from others.

TheNurtureCulture wants every sports person to realize the importance of Indian Herbs & Spices. Western Influence has made us aware about the importance and benefits of “Imported Dragon Fruit, Avocados, Olive Oil, etc.” also made us demean “Local Foods” such as Amla, Shilajit, Ashwagandha, Ber, etc.

12. Where do you see The Nurture Culture in few years down the line?

-> At present, TheNurtureCulture is a sole proprietorship and is being me run by me single handed. Since its inception in 2019, I was able to get 150+ clients by myself, including teams like Hyderabad Football Academy, Global Esports, Hyderabad Referee Association, Sports Authority of India, Kandivali, etc. I have a vision of having a team at TheNurtureCulture and being the official sports nutritionist for more such sporting teams/players/organizations. I have a focus of keeping TheNurtureCulture as a specialized sports nutrition firm so that our clientele would be extremely specific and we will be able to establish a big brand in a particular niche. I also visualize manufacturing products that are related to sports nutrition and are purely herbal and made from local sourced ingredients.

13. Where do you see yourself as a Sports Nutritionist & Sports Entrepreneur in the industry in the upcoming years?

-> My first aim for long term is to see TheNurtureCulture as a big brand in the industry and having a solid team to keep it progressing. Once that is achieved, I want to start conducting free sessions for students from under privileged backgrounds who want to get into the field of sports, nutrition, or any field related to it. As an entrepreneur, I see myself inspiring many other students to pursue their careers in sports entrepreneurship and make the most out of their life.

14. What change do you wish to witness in the Sports Nutrition ecosystem?

-> The biggest and desperately needed changed is consumption of local foods to boost sports performance and overall well-being. The power of foods produced within 100km radius of where you are brought up is extremely under-rated. Also, the negative stigma around Nutrition Supplements needs to be changed as it is actually dragging our athletes behind foreign athletes at least 5 times if not more.

15. A piece of advice for aspiring Sports Management students/ professionals/ entrepreneurs.

-> Actually, it would be a chain on advices that are linked to each other. Firstly, I would tell every aspiring entrepreneur to write down each and every idea that comes to their mind. Then do a SWOT analysis on those and understand the sustainability of that idea. Once you have shortlisted a few prospects of business, it’s time to consult some professional who either is in the field or is an experienced individual in business. Post that, start your work on implementing your ideas on ground. Final and most important: Don’t be scared to fail. If any of your idea flops, get up and start working on the other. Learn from failures and don’t stop on one.

An Interview with Bhushan Malani
Founder- TheNurtureCulture
BSM Batch 2017-20

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