A sports business development programme delivered in partnership with the University of Stirling has helped more than 500 Scottish companies.
Sporting Chance Initiative (SCI) was founded in March 2010 and has since supported the development and improvement of 107 different sports products and processes. It has also added more than 100 new jobs to the sports business sector and safeguarded a further 330, with increased turnover to the sector of more than £3.5 million.
These achievements were recognised at a special event at the Stirling Management Centre, which featured a keynote speech from outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Chris Tiso. Delegates had the opportunity to meet the brains behind a series of innovative businesses and discuss future developments for the sector.
SCI is the only support organisation in Scotland dedicated to sports innovation, assisting smaller businesses to develop new products and enhance existing ones. The initiative also links businesses into cutting edge research and expertise at Scottish universities.
Based in Stirling University Innovation Park, SCI has worked with Scottish companies such as FitSip, which has just launched a revolutionary new sports drink armband and Team Magnus, who make specialist sports equipment for children including stumpy skis.
Scottish Swimming, based on campus at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, also benefitted from SCI advice to establish live streaming of its four-day Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championships, working with Quipu TV. The event reached more than 30,000 views in 40 countries.
Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, said: “Hosting the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup will place Scotland in the spotlight in 2014, creating a lasting sporting legacy.
“This will create unique opportunities for sports-related business innovation in Scotland, ensuring that the Games’ inspiration extends far beyond the sporting landscape alone. Strong sports-related business innovation will also play a key role in ensuring the Games create a lasting legacy. In the run up to 2014 it is therefore crucial that sport and business go hand in hand.”
Dr John Rogers, Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Stirling, said: “Sports-business innovation is an exciting and growing area in Scotland. Linking SMEs with academia leads to cutting edge research and business growth.
“Creating these links and supporting innovative development has been a real achievement by the Sporting Chance Initiative and one that establishes a sustainable framework for significant opportunity in 2014 and beyond.”
Sporting Chance Initiative is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Stirling Council, the Scottish Funding Council, University of Stirling and Stirling University Innovation Park (SUIP).