NEC Chancellor, Sascha Liebhardt, Host for ISPO Brandnew Sport Start-up Award
This month saw 2,800 exhibitors descend upon Munich at the largest trade fair for sport business, the 50th annual ISPO Fair. Held from 26 – 29 January, the world’s most innovative, successful and well-known sporting brands presented their latest products at the event.
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences’ partner institution in Munich, the New European College (NEC), also had a key role at the event. NEC’s chancellor, Sascha Liebhardt, hosted the ISPO Brandnew Awards Ceremony and Pitch Competition on the opening day.
ISPO Brandnew is known as the largest platform for sport start-ups worldwide. For 20 years, ISPO has used ISPO Brandnew to seek out the most promising newcomers and innovators within the sports industry. Past winners of the Brandnew Award include GoPro, Naish Kites, Maloja and Nixon.
Liebhardt’s connection with ISPO started in 2012 when he was asked to be a member of the jury for the communication award. “Eventually I became the head of the jury and hosted a communication, storytelling and social media event at ISPO. This year I had the honour of being the host of the Brandnew Category Award Ceremony and the Brandnew Overall Category Competition and Ceremony,” Liebhardt said. He is the founder of NEC, which is dedicated to the education and future success of young entrepreneurs.
The competition commenced with the election of winners from eight Brandnew categories: Body & Mind, Connected Sports, Future Mobility, Matchtime, Offshore, Outdoor Adventure, Parks & Slopes and Urban Outdoor.
Winners were then given the opportunity, with Liebhardt, to present their business models and motivations for their products or services on stage. Later that afternoon, all 8 category winners went head-to-head in a “pitch-off” to compete for the Overall Winner Award. Each start-up was given 90 seconds to give their elevator pitch and convince the jury and the audience of the true value of their brand.
EXOlung , a private initiative currently in the prototype phase, eventually triumphed for their innovative underwater breathing apparatus – a light and compact diving device which uses the diver’s leg movements to draw fresh air down from the surface of the water at depths of up to five metres, and allows the diver to stay underwater for as long as desired.
This year’s ISPO event was guided by three mottos: “Be responsible. Be active. Be creative.” ISPO prides itself on not only being the “world’s largest multi-segment trade show in sport”, but also as the driver for creativity, innovation and digitalisation in the sporting goods industry. ISPO visitors travel across the planet to collaborate, network, partner and grow business in sporting segments such as snow sports, outdoor, health & fitness, urban recreation and team sports.
by James Wittenborg
© Wittenborg University Press