The increasingly sedentary lifestyle among the population is a significant contributor to less fitness & well-being and a variety of diseases such as a rise in mental stress, diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, and cancer cases. While technology has made our lives less active, it can now assist us in becoming more active and fit. Interregional collaboration is required to accelerate the introduction of the necessary technological innovations to the market. The European project I3-INSHAPE promotes such cooperation. Coordinated by Cluster Sports & Technology in (South) Netherlands, SMEs, knowledge institutions and cluster partners from regions from Belgium, Finland, Hungary, and Spain participate in the project. These funds provide a boost to the economy all over Europe and especially in the regions where EPSI members are located, in the framework of Sports & Vitality domain.
Increasing the Impact of SMEs
With an amount of €9.5 million (70 percent funded by EU-I3), SMEs have the opportunity to expedite the market entry of their innovations through interregional collaboration. Ultimately, this financial boost aims to establish an INSHAPE Innovation & Investment Hub, where companies, knowledge institutions, and government can come together for innovations promoting a healthier and more active lifestyle even after the project concludes. The project has a duration of three years and has just started with a kick-off on September 20, 2023.
Rene Wijlens, Co-Executive Director of EPSI and Project Coordinator of I3-INSHAPE on behalf of Cluster Sports & Technology: “With this project, we build upon the Clusters’ innovation strength, which we have developed in recent years. This will assist companies using smart technology to bring innovative products and services to the market, enticing people to lead a healthy and active life, both at work, in sports, and in public spaces. With INSHAPE, we bridge the regional strengths and ambitions of our and the other clusters and regions in the EU in the field of Sports & Vitality to form the sustainable EU-INSHAPE Innovation Hub, that will help SMEs in the EU to create successful business form innovations”.
EPSI – the European Platform for Sport Innovation, will support the communication and dissemination of the project itself, helping it to gain visibility all over Europe in light of its strong network. Alberto Bichi, Co-executive director of EPSI with Rene, states: “According to the European Commission, Small and medium-sized enterprises represent 99% of all businesses in the EU. Participating actively in this project means a lot for us cause it’s a unique project that affirms the great potential of sports innovation and technological advancements for all these entities”.
I3-INSHAPE is funded by the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF). With this subsidy, participating parties have the opportunity to assist over 40 SMEs in bringing innovations to the market through interregional collaboration, thereby promoting a more active and healthier society.