2024 has just begun and the first months of work for the I3-INSHAPE project are behind us. Co-funded by the EU, it aims to enhance the European digital economy by transforming the ClusSport Partnership recognized by the EU into a European competence centre for SME sports and vitality initiatives, accelerating interregional innovation investments and creating the I3-INSHAPE Network of Innovation and Investment Hubs. Every interested SME can benefit from this project, and partners made significant progress since the start of the project in September 2023 to permit its local and international accessibility. In This framework, EPSI EPSI is responsible for the I3-INSHAPE communication and dissemination among its European Network and beyond

The Kick-off meeting: why the project is so important  

The inaugural event was held on the 22nd and 23rd of September 2023, at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven, marking the beginning of a three-year journey. Project partners and SMEs gathered for the project Kick-off to present diverse Work Packages, laying the foundation for collaborative efforts to reach a great objective. Indeed, the €9.5 million project, funded by the EU-I3 programme, aims to accelerate SMEs’ market entry and establish the Innovation & Investment Hub for companies, institutions, and government bodies to promote healthier lifestyles and economic growth in participating regions, fostering economic growth. This goal underlines the importance of such a project, which is a self-sustainable international hub to expand market presence of SMEs and facilitate commercialization, attract investments, digitalize services and products, access financing and drive economic development for sport sector in the participating regions. 

In 2023, partners and SMEs have started mapping the excellence and expertise of the regions, as well as appointed IBS managers and identified the major needs of the SMEs towards sports innovation. 

The Work Package 3 Kick-off: scaling up and legal insights 

A pivotal moment in the project’s early life occurred during the WP3 Kick-off meeting in Barcelona, in December 2023 – organized by Indescat and Acciò. The conference, held within the broader framework of the I3-INSHAPE project, sought to accelerate investment in SMEs while providing valuable insights into international scalability and legal considerations, to support the growth and sustainability of businesses within the sports sector. 

Looking Ahead to 2024. A new year of implementation 

As the consortium prepares for this new year that has just begun, the focus remains on the practical implementation of the project’s objectives. The next steps:  

  • Defining the first stream of innovation investment cases by the SMEs. The needs of 5 flagship SMEs are already collected, and one more must come, to outline the first wave of investment cases to drive innovation. The investment case template will be provided during January. 

  • Leveraging data-driven technologies to fuel advancements in the sports and active lifestyle domain. 

  • Engaging SMEs in open calls centred around challenges defined by the flagship SMEs, encouraging a collaborative and problem-solving approach 
  • Establishing connections between interregional excellences to catalyze the first stream of investment cases 

The I3-INSHAPE project is a commitment to driving positive change in the Sports & Vitality domain. As 2023 just closed its chapter, the consortium is working to follow up on the project’s objectives in 2024. Stay up-to-date: follow I3-INSHAPE on LinkedIn and Twitter and ask for information to the leaders Cluster Sport & Technology to join this project! 

Become a member