The Province of Trentino, Italy, and Its Journey to Become A Sport Startups Valley

The Province of Trentino is located at the crossroads of Italy, where the Italian-speaking world meets the German-speaking world. But Trentino is also the Italian gateway to the world of sport and innovation. It has the highest concentration of startups in Italy (CERVED & Confindustria, 2017) and has historically been ranked among the top 3 sports regions in Italy according to the “Italian Financial Times” and its Index of Sport (Il Sole 24 Ore, 2007-2018). Let’s have a look at how the Province of Trentino has made it a reality.

 

Starting point: The 2013 Trentino Winter Universiade

Trentino, as an innovation ecosystem, has embarked on a period of strategic reflection with the Winter Universiade 2013 Trentino – which was defined as “a paradigmatic example of integration between sport and innovation” by the Council of Ministers of Sport of the European Union. The Winter Universiade Conference 2013, organised by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and the University of Trento in the context of the 26th Winter Universiade Trentino 2013, played a key role in this strategic reflection.

The objective of the conference was to develop, through a world-class forum of top-level experts, a shared vision of the social and economic value of sport, as source of inspiration for interdisciplinary research and innovation, in different sectors.

During the conference, on 10 December 2013, the alliance sport-university-innovation was formalised with the signing of the International S-Mart Trentino 2013 Declaration on Sport and University for Innovation, which recognises a new concept of sport as a driving engine for development, research and education.

This Declaration was signed by the President of the Italian Olympic Committee, the President of FISU, The City of Trentino, the Italian Ministry of University, Research and Education, the Prime Minister’s Sport Office and the Chairman of the Conference of the Italian Rectors of Universities.

 

Building solid foundations, anchored in the European Union programme for innovation

The Winter Universiade Trentino 2013 has enabled Trentino to build a solid foundation and establish fruitful connections with various European Union programmes including the European Platform for Sport Innovation (EPSI) and Clusport (Smart Specialisation Platform for Industry Modernisation).

In this framework, Trentino as a region developed a “Smart Specialisation Strategy” in 2014. This strategy paved the way for a global integration of the vision of sport as a driving force for development, technological innovation and social integration and a transversal vision of innovation, well-being and technology through sport.