Changing the world through sport

“I love sports,” declares London-based social entrepreneur Richard Loat. “It’s not even a specific sport, I just love the binding of sport. We’re in Mamelodi now but I’ve some Man United fans, a few Manchester City fans as well…Sports just has a way of bringing people together.” The lanky entrepreneur, who describes himself as a ‘disruptive philanthropist’, is the CEO and founder of Five Hole for Food – a social enterprise that brings people together through the love of sport. The social enterprise hosts street sports events (such as hockey and basketball) where the cost of entry is a food donation.

The idea initially came to Loat while he was travelling in Canada as a 21-year-old student. “I think, at the end of the day, as human beings, we’re all just looking to connect with each other and find a sense of belonging. Sports is a great way of tapping into that sense of longing.”

Loat says one of his biggest motivations for starting Five Hole For Food was to change the face of social entrepreneurship and dispel the thinking that the only way you could make a change is with cash. His message for any millennial looking to change the world is pretty simple: use whatever resources you have at your disposal, the rest will sort itself out.

When it comes to giving Loat also believes, no amount is too big or small. “I remember this moment at a game in Vancouver; a little girl came up to me after one of our [hockey matches] with a piggy bank she broke open in front of us that had $43. That was everything she had. Right after that a gentleman came up to us and wrote us a cheque for $1, 000. To me, both their contributions are exactly the same. I don’t think we should create a playing field that says because you gave more than me, your contribution is more valid,” he concludes.