Popular Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet is launching a new podcast about sponsorship called Bet on Yourself, with Intuit on board as the exclusive sponsor.
In each of the 12 episodes, produced with podcast platform Acast, VanVleet and his business partner Derek Folk talk with aspiring BIPOC entrepreneurs in Canada, sharing advice, insights and encouragement.
Intuit signed on as an official sponsor of the Raptors earlier this year, and was looking for ways to leverage that relationship, said Stefania Mancini, director of marketing, consumer group. “What we were really trying to do is find new ways to connect with our consumers,” she said.
The Raptors are Canada’s basketball team and popular with Intuit’s key consumer sets, she said. “So how can we take that and turn that into something bigger, where one plus one equals five?”
When they heard about VanVleet’s new podcast with Acast, they saw an immediate fit with both the TurboTax and QuickBooks brands.
VanVleet’s underdog-makes-good story is one that appeals to a lot of Canadians, and resonates with small business owners. Originally undrafted, he has emerged as a bona fide star in the league, winning a championship and signing the largest ever contract for an undrafted player. Along the way, VanVleet has adopted “Bet on Yourself” as a personal mantra—a bet that paid off handsomely.
He also has an entrepreneurial streak and a reputation for being articulate, thoughtful and well-spoken.
“Nothing says ‘bet on yourself’ more than starting a new business, which is the problem that QuickBooks tries to solve,” said Mancini. “And nothing says ‘bet on yourself’ more than the self-employed people with side-gigs that we’re trying to get tax dollars back for [with TurboTax]. They take that money and they reinvest in themselves and their business.”
Both TurboTax and QuickBooks are about helping consumers realize their own power and prosperity, she said.
“What is so magical about Freddie’s mission is that he’s really trying to empower people to get out there and take those risks,” Mancini. “And we’re helping to say, ‘Be financially literate and get some great tools at your fingertips,’ so that those risks are really about the business you’re driving, and not the financial aspects of it.”
The first episode of Bet on Yourself debuts Nov. 3 across all the major podcast players, with new episodes to follow every Wednesday. VanVleet and Folk will talk with people who are building businesses that are not only successful, but having a positive cultural impact. First season guests include:
- Baba Ajayi, CEO of Andie;
- Tammy Yiu Coyne, co-founder of Partial;
- Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, founder of Birch Bark Coffee;
- Veneise George, owner of Yawdi’s; and
- Nate Behar, wide receiver for the Ottawa Redblacks and co-founder of ATNMY.
“Nearly five years ago, I stepped outside my comfort zone and opened a business for the first time. No doubt mistakes were made, but having the kind of mentorship that I did from my business partner and co-host, Derek Folk, was critical to our eventual success,” said VanVleet in a release announcing the new podcast.
“With this podcast, we hope to pay it back and empower the BIPOC community here in Canada and beyond by bouncing around ideas, helping to solve problems, and giving these incredible entrepreneurs a powerful platform from which they can grow their businesses.”