India, 2022: Leading merchant commerce omnichannel platform, Pine Labs today announced the hiring of six former Indian athletes under its ‘Second Innings’ program, an initiative to reskill and employ retired sportspeople in India. The company has partnered with Natekar Sports & Fitness (NSF) which is led by its founder Gaurav Natekar who is a former India number 1 tennis player, Arjuna Awardee, double Asian Games gold medalist, and son of the legendary Indian badminton star Late Nandu Natekar.
Pine Labs and NSF will be mapping each of these hired athletes to the right job within the Pine Labs organisation and provide the necessary skill development training as well. These new hires will be entitled to the same perks as existing employees, and they will also be a part of the Pine Labs Annual Review process.
Commenting on the initiative, B Amrish Rau, CEO, Pine Labs, said, “This could not have come at a better time. In the month when India celebrates 75 years of Independence, and the country’s sporting heroes vie for the top honors at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, I am delighted to announce the launch of the ‘Pine Labs Second Innings’ program. It is our initiative in partnership with Natekar Sports & Fitness to empower retired Indian sporting heroes who have given their all in the service of their state/country. We strongly believe this needs to be the start of a bigger movement and should not just stop at Pine Labs. Happy to have some real Champions join us this month.”
“The Indian sporting ecosystem has seen tremendous strides in the past few years. However, one area that has concerned me tremendously is the lack of job opportunities in the private sector for the thousands of Indian sportspersons and athletes who give their heart and soul to play for India but are unable to make the grade for various reasons and are then left stranded once they retire from active sport. I am delighted that ‘Second Innings’ an initiative by Pine Labs in partnership with Natekar Sports & Fitness will be aiming to address this huge issue. I strongly believe this initiative has the potential to be a path breaking program which will not only create more jobs for our sportspersons but will also inspire more youngsters to take up sport. We are confident that all the stakeholders in the Indian sports ecosystem including the ministry, federations, NGOs and sports organizations will support the program to ensure its success.” said Gaurav Natekar, Founder, Natekar Sports & Fitness (NSF).
Commenting on the initiative, Beevan D’Mello, ex-football player from Goa said “Getting hired by Pine Labs is a great opportunity for me to enter in the corporate world after more than 18 years as a professional football player. And having just come onboard this week I can happily say that I am loving every moment of it. The entire staff here at Pine Labs have been very friendly and very helpful as well. The induction process here in Bangalore has been very knowledgeable and informative. I’m very thankful and grateful to Pine Labs for this opportunity and hoping to be a part of this company for a long time.”
The ‘Second Innings’ initiative by Pine Labs has the potential to transform into a big movement, driven by the startup community and one that aids government efforts in strengthening the aspirations of the sporting talent in the country once they are past their prime in