BST.Coach is proof that you can achieve innovation by exploiting new funding opportunities through solid networking and collaboration.
BST.Coach became an EPSI member in October 2022, and in less than a year they have gotten their idea funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), also thanks to EPSI’s strategic partnership with the ESAl, signed last year. BST.Coach has always been an active member, attending both our annual events and different webinars, and supporting EPSI initiatives. Thanks to the support of EPSI from the beginning, they worked intensively to develop a proposal that was in line with the objectives of the ESA funding call and showed the potential of integrating space technology into outdoor sports. Reinis Kregers, founder of BST.Coach, tells us about his experience in this framework.
- Reinis, can you introduce us to BST.Coach?
BST.Coach is a youth sports platform. We provide youth and coaches with organized physical preparation resources, whether it’s exercise or training routines aimed at enhancing their physical preparation. The platform helps coaches in their job and allow them to improve their training. Our mission with the project is to increase the basic physical training of youth and athletes across Europe.
- What type of funds have BST.Coach obtained by ESA? When did you apply?
It’s a kick-start grant activity called Inclusive and Accessible Sports. We received the bonuses from the ESA this year. The process started the last October, and we got the green light to submit a proposal in February of this year.
- How did you get to know this ESA funding call?
It’s interesting how we found out about the call. I attended the EPSI Annual Conference in Bergamo last year, in 2022, and an ESA representative presented a different call. I was interested in it, but we didn’t really qualify. So I talked to the person after the presentation, and she suggested that we might have an opportunity on another call. And it was the call we have been granted. It was a step-by-step process.
- What proposal has BST.Coach submitted for this call?
We sent out a call called “Satellite Navigation for High Trail Gamification”. It’s a project that’s part of the Inclusive and Accessible Sports Call by ESA. The idea is to give the hikers some exercises or fun activities along the hiking trail. In the end, we give them a voucher from a local shop (for example, a coffee shop) as a reward for completing it. This is a gamified exercise system.
- How did you get this idea?
The idea evolved very slowly. We investigated how we could make the outdoor activities a bit funnier, especially for the youth, because influencing the youth is part of our mission. It was a slow process, an evolution of ideas.
- How EPSI helped BST.Coach securing this grant?
EPSI helped from step one. Last year it was my first Annual Conference and BST.Coach had just joined the EPSI Network for the first time. I remember one of the key things that probably got me interested enough to even pay for this grant was Panos, the EPSI Project Manager, during the Annual Conference in Bergamo. He just answered some questions, such as how the grant works, and he simply gave me some encouragement. So honestly, it was respect and honest conversations that the idea started with, and that led to more and more helpful connections with EPSI.
- What are your next steps in this framework for the future?
Talking about our future, we have 6 months of labour with this ESA project. There are possible spin-off opportunities for this. We like the idea of gamify trails, but there are also possibilities of gamify outdoor sports places or gyms where we can apply satellite navigation idea, as well as outdoor courts such as basketball courts. There are multiple other ideas that we’re exploring right now. Apart from the ESA call, we have also been involved in an Erasmus+ project, which we will know the result in the next few months. Our vision is to become one of the most organised, largest youth resource libraries for physical preparation in Europe. Our main goal will be to improve our library, to make it more accessible to trainers all over Europe.
- Thank you Reinis, do you want to add something?
We’re pleased that you’re helping us with projects and report writing because we have no experience with funding, in fact, this is the first time for me that I have written a proposal for a grant. EPSI has shown commitment to helping us from the first steps. I appreciate a lot this network and its team of people.
BST.Coach mission operates in two different wings: 1. Project writing and their submission for funding calls, as for the ESA and the Erasmus+ calls, and 2. Increasing the performance of athletes and helping coaches in their work thanks to our digital platform. The funding received from the ESA will enable BST.Coach to not only enhance the overall experience of outdoor sports enthusiasts but also to reach their goals and contribute to the advancement of sports technology and its applications in various fields.
BST.Coach is just one of the many members of EPSI that get results thanks to our network. If you represent an entity involved in sports, apply for membership. More info on the webpage: https://epsi.eu/become-member/