Alex Zurita, Specialist Advisor – Technology for Participation, looks towards the future after the first week of London’s first Sport Tech Hub and incubator programme.
Last week marked the start of something unique for the physical activity & sport and the tech sectors: the opening and launch of the first ever Sport Tech Hub and incubator programme in London – a well overdue milestone considering that London’s reputation as a world-renowned hotbed of growth and innovation, in particular Finance, Transport, Property and Food among others. Nevertheless, the Sport Tech Hub is here and intended to propel innovation in the city and beyond.
Monday 2 October marked the start of the incubator programme and the first opportunity for the 16 start-ups that are on the programme to engage with one-and-other, and on Thursday 5 October, we brought together 80+ attendants to the House of Sport to officially launch Sport Tech Hub. This event included opening remarks by our CEO – Tove Okunniwa and Dep. Mayor, Social Integration, Social Mobility, Community Engagement- Matthew Ryder and pitches from all 16 start-ups to a room filled with partners, mentors, media and wider stakeholders from both the technology and physical activity and sport sectors.
Each of the 16 startups involved in the Sports Tech Hub, showcased their focuses that ranged from mass participation and active travel to social engagement, at-home fitness and immersive experiences but despite having different business ideas, all the start-ups have one common goal – to use digital and technology to drive innovation in sport, encourage and enable more Londoners to be physically active and achieve London’s vision of becoming the most physically active city in the world.
From here on and over the next 6 months, the start-ups will be provided with an environment geared at giving them a greater chance to succeed and the opportunity to contribute to the future success of participation and sport – helping Londoners to become active and enjoy the benefits that come from physical activity – physical and mental well-being, social and community integration, personal and socio-economic development. It is not only an opportunity to transform and revolutionise participation in the capital, but also around the country and, indeed, around the world.
Sport Tech Hub and the start-ups alone, won’t solve all the issues and barriers that prevent people across London from enjoying the benefits that derive from being physically active. However, as part of a solution, it has never played a more important role. We know there is a body of evidence that physical activity and sport contributes to positive individual and societal outcomes. It can improve our physical and mental well-being, it helps us develop as individuals and it can bring people and communities together. Recent research by London Sport estimates that physical activity and sport generates a social value of £8.75 billion to London – yet over 38% of Londoners are not physically active enough to benefit their health.
We look forward harnessing and fostering SportTech innovation and working with the sector to roll their products out across the capital!
About the Author
Alex Zurita is London Sport’s Specialist Advisor – Technology for Participation. He can be found on twitter @jalexzurita and LinkedIn.