More and more startups and companies are focusing on sports related topics. Be it startups working on an idea to help athletes train better or smarter, be it those trying to enhance the fan engagement or even those that bring sport closer to certain groups within our society. Since 2016, the Belgian SportUp community invites al SportTech startups and companies to join and benefit from sharing their network and experience with each other and with relevant stakeholders. In 2018, SportUp has moved to the next level with imec.istart launching a dedicated accelerator program under the same name. Together with the initiators of the SportUp community and some new and dedicated partners, it will open additional opportunities for SportsTech startups. Under the name ‘SportUp Boost’, the community itself continues to provide a warm haven for everyone looking for informal business encounters, as well as for projects and startups in early (ideation) stage who want to warm up for their istart selection.
SportUp expertise at your service
Victoris is the sports innovation consortium at Ghent University. Representing more than 40 researchers active in a diversity of sport topics, Victoris enables a multidisciplinary approach to a variety of challenges. As an honest partner for advice & service related to sports and innovation, they offer quick and direct access to world class expertise and research facilities. This can give you a competitive advantage in creating products and services that work (evidence based). Also, Victoris can be of assistance in project writing and by opening their (inter)national network of companies, sports clubs etc.
Sport Vlaanderen is the Flemish government´s agency working towards getting more people physically active and more medals at the regional, national and international levels. Its more than 600 employees represent a wide variety of skills in the field of sports and wellbeing. In its 14 own sports centers across Flanders, Sport Vlaanderen hosts individual athletes, sports clubs, schools etc. Through its sports camps alone, it already reaches 9000 youngsters each year. All of these could potentially become beta-testers or launching customers for startups participating in the SportUp program.
The journey and benefits
During a period of 3 up to maximum 18 months, the SportUp partners provide financial means on top of the imec.istart offering (which accounts for 50 kEUR) as well as coaching and training, depending on the specific needs (specialized coaches & mentors, training focused on certain themes,…).
The support provided by SportUp comes on top of the support provided by the imec.istart program. Both organizations (imec and SportUp) take an independent decision. If you apply for the SportUp special track, this automatically means you also apply for the imec.istart program and you agree with its conditions.
Requirements and eligibility
Even though a minimal support towards further technology development can be given as well, the main focus lies on business development (developing, validating and implementing a business plan, clarifying the intellectual property situation, market analysis, customer contacts through fairs, marketing and sales activities …).
“The final purpose is to help develop a business idea up to the point where it is ready to attract financial support in the market, and to continue developing independently.”
In order to be eligible, some form of proof-of-concept or prototype of the core product/technology is a necessity. At submission, your start-up does not need to be established yet (if you’re selected, we expect you to establish a kind of legal entity however).