The event showcased the best practices of European sport innovation in the local context of the Azores.

Three days dedicated to sports innovation for the Azores Chapter of EPSI Annual Conference, from the 5th to the 7th of June 2023 in Ponta Delgada, San Miguel island. With a shared goal of driving progress and achieving excellence in the sports sector, the Conference served as a unique occasion for insightful discussions, inspiring presentations, and remarkable collaborations among the different expertise of organizations participating. 

Kicking off the conference, the EPSI’s Executive Directors Alberto Bichi and Rene Wijlens welcomed all attendees and presented EPSI’s results and goals achieved during the last year. Local authorities from the Regional Secretary for Health and Sport, the Municipality of Ponta Delgada and the University of the Azores graced the stage immediately after. Their welcome to the event, which was organized by EPSI in collaboration with Sport Azores, underscored the importance of overcoming borders and building connections with local, national and international entities. 

The event brought together, indeed, organisations and representatives from all over Europe to delve into the dynamic world of sports management and innovation, digging deeply into opportunities from European Commission funding calls, as also discussed by Antonio Rodenas Bosque from the European Spacial Agency and Marie Latour from Euro-Funding.

The event witnessed engaging discussions on different topics, such as business creation from deliverables of European projects, within the EPSI membership and between sports and the neighbouring sectors. Various pitching sessions were also planned for participants to share their experiences and strategies for pitching ideas for their work within the sports field. One of these sessions, called “One drink, one idea” created also the basis for new projects to be possibly submitted for EU funding calls like Erasmus+. 

Furthermore, participants explored innovative approaches, showcasing how technology and cutting-edge advancements are shaping the future of sports, for example, talking of the sustainability of swimming pools (by NoviNato), the sustainable impact of Sports Events (by Cluster Sports & Technology and Sportinnovator) or the technologies in the Metaverse (by IGOID Sportec).

Among the standout projects presented were the Re-shoes project – revolutionising sustainable footwear by collecting, sorting and recycling post-consumer outdoor shoes – and the SESE project – aimed at promoting excellence in sports from a cross-sectorial perspective improves the capacity of stakeholders.

The journey towards sports innovation and its impact through lobbying activities, business creation and project management and design will continue also thanks to the fruitful networking created at the event. The next EPSI General Assembly will be in 2024 in the breathtaking context of Lapland, Finland. EPSI and Lapland University will welcome everyone who is interested in joining our next Annual Conference to continue to drive progress for excellence and innovation in the world of sports.