The Federal Government has spent $225,000 to establish the Australian Sports Technologies Network, which is designed to foster the growth of sports technology start-ups.
Based in Geelong, the ASTN is a national network that aims to bring together universities, sports technology companies and other industry players to develop new sporting technologies.
The government has provided $225,000 in funding to establish the network and invest in continued improvements in sporting performance.
The impetus for the establishment of the ASTN stemmed from a group of firms and researchers who saw the benefits of collaboration to improve the development of sporting technologies.
The concept was formalised at an industry workshop in October last year and a group of foundation members was formed.
Foundation partners include four universities, the CSIRO, eight sports technology companies, venture capitalists and information technology experts.
In its first year, the network will focus on projects that bring technology developers together, examine market opportunities and support product exposure and marketing.
According to Minister for Sport Kate Lundy the network has the potential to “unearth a new wave of Australian-made sports technologies”.
“As global market opportunities emerge, growing this industry in Australia could lead to great economic opportunities and thousands of jobs,” Lundy said in a statement.
“With some of our finest researchers, developers and entrepreneurs supporting this new initiative, I am confident it will deliver dividends.”
According to the ASTN, opportunities to fully commercialise sports technologies have so far been underutilised.
“Australia is a strong consumer of sports, a global leader in elite sporting performance, and is at the forefront of approaches in athlete innovation,” it says.
“Despite these characteristics, we do not have a strong history in commercialising sports technologies… [There is] little collaboration to develop commercial opportunities.
“For instance, the industry does not have coordinated access to commercialisation expertise and venture capital.”
“At the same time, growing sports markets represent significant opportunities for Australian firms.”
The ASTN will be controlled by its members. It will be established as a not-for-profit organisation, with a board of directors elected by members.
A business plan has been prepared that identifies activities and business targets over the next three years. It includes key performance indicators against which performance will be measured.
The ASTN is seeking funding from Commonwealth and state governments to assist establishment over its first three years of operation.
After this period, it will be fully funded by members and sponsors.