SportsTech Ireland and UL’s Kemmy Business School Host Ireland’s First Ever Masterclass in Sports Entrepreneurship

On Friday 21st September, the University of Limerick welcomed a number of leading sports innovators and entrepreneurs, founders, brands and athletes to the Kemmy Business School as part of a two day “Masterclass in Sports Entrepreneurship, the first of its kind in Ireland.

The Masterclass, a partnership between Sportstech Ireland and the Kemmy Business School introduced guests to the global emerging trends and commercial opportunities in the sports sector and delivered practical insights, tools and techniques for the development of entrepreneurial thinking in sports. Key knowledge areas around idea generation, market validation, IP, route to market, data analytics, legals and funding were covered.

Attendees heard from international entrepreneurs and innovators from the world of sports business including Irish success stories Kitman Labs, Orreco and Sportego. Keynote speaker Sam McCleery, Under Armour’s Head of Innovation, flew in from Baltimore, Maryland to attend the event. Expert panels from Deloitte, Homes O’Malley Sexton Solicitors and leading educators from the university provided a range of learning opportunities. Panel discussions on acceleration, mindset and scaling enabled delegates to dig deeper into the entrepreneurial journey. A number of Irish athletes participated, including Ex-Irish Rugby Internationals Andrew Trimble, Jamie Heaslip and David Wallace, Irish Cricketer George Dockrell, World Cup Hockey star Roisin Upton, All-Ireland winning hurler Shane Dowling, and Irish Women’s Rugby International Niamh Briggs.

Opening the event Dr Briga Hynes, Head Department of Management and Marketing indicated “that the KBS is very excited about the launch of this Masterclass as a means of building greater connections between the entrepreneurship and sports management fields. It is a natural fit for UL and the Kemmy Business School given our close ties to sport, our reputation in delivering a range of practical based entrepreneurship education, training and mentoring support initiatives. As the worlds of business and sport collide, we are pleased to be leading the way in upskilling and creating programmes to prepare future sports entrepreneurs to capitalise on the many growth opportunities in this sector”

Cofounders Emily Ross, Martina Skelly and Gráinne Barry had this to say; “The global sports market has grown enormously over the last number of years. Ireland, and in particular the Mid-West, is perfectly set up to become a key players in the sports technology space. We’ve seen early signs of this potential in Limerick with the recent opening of the STATS EMEA headquarters in the city. Added to that, we believe that there are ample opportunities for athletes to move from sport into entrepreneurship. We wanted to empower athletes and future-entrepreneurs with the network, support and expertise they will need, to increase their likelihood of commercial success. We are delighted with the overwhelming interest this event has generated, and from the positive impact already noted on the ecosystem.”

SportsTech Ireland is an initiative that aims to establish the Mid-West as a world-leading destination for sports innovation and technology. SportsTech Ireland has put in place partnerships with the University of Limerick, LeAD Berlin, Ryerson University in Toronto, the University of Michigan and London Sport; all of which played a role in the sports entrepreneurship masterclass.

According to Deloitte, revenue from the global sports market was estimated to grow to 91 billion dollars by 2017 (not including sports merchandising revenue). Over 5 billion dollars has been invested in sports tech start-ups worldwide in the past two years and accelerators and incubators for sports entrepreneurs have sprung up all over the world, highlighting the ever-increasing business opportunities in this sector.