To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, we asked you for nominations of female entrepreneurs or businesswomen whose work, projects, attitude or perseverance you admired. In part three of our story, we meet ELISAVETA KOSAREVA, the founder of Kosandra Sports which teaches inline skating, rollerblading and more general sports skills to kids in HK.
Where are you from and how long have you been in Hong Kong?
I’m from Russia and I’ve lived in Hong Kong for three and a half years.
Tell us about Kosandra Sports.
I was inspired by my mother Irina, who is a professional figure skating coach in Russia. My childhood was all about sports – doing figure skating, rhythmic gymnastics and modern dancing. As a teenager, I started assisting my mum to teach children figure skating; I followed her everywhere, teaching young kids starting from the age of three up to professional level. In the process, I learnt many secrets around how to teach and how to achieve goals with your students.
I have a university degree in business and service, and had a promising career in the hospitality industry – this is how I ended up in Hong Kong, working for one of the luxury hotels. While working in hospitality and climbing the career ladder, I felt that I didn’t get the same fulfilment as I had when I was working with children. I always knew that my achievements in life so far are all thanks to my sports education – learning life skills and being mentally strong to face life’s challenges.
So I decided to follow my gut and give up my career in a big corporation, and instead start my own business teaching children sports in Hong Kong. Kosandra Sports Academy (kosandrasports.com) was established in February 2021. I had great friends who supported me and believed I could start my own business in a foreign country. We began with seven students and today have more than 100 a week, rollerblading all over HK with us!
Our mission is to make a difference in children’s lives so they learn to achieve not only goals in sports but goals in life as well, through persistence, self-discipline, focus and overcoming multiple failures to realise their dreams.
What’s your biggest achievement so far?
I would say my biggest achievement is made up of small achievements every day. Sometimes, it’s hard to see it in everyday life when it’s not so visible. I work on my personal growth, carry out my business operations, socialise with friends, find “me time”, and retain the ability to say no to so many temptations that a big city offers in order to realise my bigger dreams. It requires a lot of mental work and patience!
Any particular challenges you’ve faced doing business in HK?
I’m very thankful to Hong Kong for the many great opportunities this city offers to expats. You need to know yourself, your capabilities and your goals, and be focused and ready to grab opportunities that come your way. What advice would you give other women who are keen to start a business here? You have to believe in yourself and give it a try. You are enough. Start from small steps and follow your own path while getting inspired by others. There are so many people out there and you will always find your audience to appreciate what you offer to the world.
What are you excited about for 2023 and beyond?
Introducing Hong Kong to my family and sharing its charms and the wonderful people living here!
We hope you enjoyed our International Women’s Day story. Read more in our Living in Hong Kong section.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.