Harvey Norman's CEO Katie Page has launched Team Harvey Junior, an initiative providing ten sponsorships valued at $5000 for women's and girls' sport teams who are missing out.
Harvey Norman has been a sponsor for women in sport for over a decade. The retail giant has been leading the push to promote female athletes to ensure they get the support they need and the recognition they deserve.
Team Harvey Junior showcases a variety of outstanding female athletes who, as role models, inspire and encourage the young women of Australia to participate in any sport.
The sponsorship has received 1500 applicants, with a third of teams citing equipment as their greatest need. A further 24 per cent said they needed funding for team uniforms.
Ms Page said she was surprised by the initiatives overwhelming response, and is pleased to now have an idea of where funding should be focused.
'Team Harvey Junior has given us a local, state and national lens on where we can help and highlight to the government and other public companies that a real need exists,' she said.
'The aim was to identify 10 teams or clubs where we felt we could make a difference.
'However, we didn’t anticipate the level of interest or rather the extent of the need.
'We now know and have a much better picture of what sports young girls are at playing at different ages, whether they play at school or outside of school and what they need to continue to participate.'
A third of the teams who responded to the initiative are from New South Wales, with netball as the most popular sport, accounting for 53 per cent of applicants.
Soccer came in as the second most popular, with 13 per cent of applicants. Rugby league followed with 9 per cent, while basketball and AFL sat at 8 per cent.
Illawarra Basketball, one of four NSW winners, is an association with a strong female presence. It has nearly 400 registered female members as well as a plan to increase that number over the coming years.
Supporting women in sport has always been a priority of Harvey Norman's Chief Executive Officer Katie Page, who made history back in 2004 by becoming the first female board member of the National Rugby League and then establishing the trailblazing Women In League program in 2007.
These close ties have continued to grow, with Harvey Norman’s sponsorship of the Jillaroos – the women’s national team – both the NSWRL and QRL women’s teams, and the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.