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Sports & Fitness Industry Association Launches Its Fifth Annual Start-Up Challenge — and This Year It’s Virtual

COVID-19 disrupted the business landscape, but it didn’t dampen the entrepreneurial spirit.

Today, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association started accepting applications for its annual Start-Up Challenge, which for the first time will be held virtually. The event — which is in its fifth year — allows for young companies and entrepreneurs to pitch concepts in a competitive format.

Applications are being accepted via SFIAstartupchallenge.org. It costs $50 to apply.

“Innovation is at the heart of our industry, and so much of the progress we’ve seen comes from small inventors and entrepreneurs driven to make a difference in sports and fitness,” SFIA CEO and president Tom Cove said in a statement. “We’re excited to bring the Start-Up Challenge to the virtual stage. The post-pandemic marketplace opens doors for a new generation of ideas and offers a platform more accessible to both competitors and judges all around the world.”

According to the SFIA, applications are open for ideas, products or services in the sporting goods, team sports, sports tech and fitness spaces. The applications can be submitted before Jan. 29, 2021, and up to 10 finalists will then virtually present on May 4, 2021, to a panel judges with more than 150 industry executives, investors and thought leaders.

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The SFIA said it has showcased 21 start-up companies over the last four years, and that past Start-Up Challenge finalists have collectively raised more than $150 million.

SFI said in a statement that the champion will receive a video digital package, a 2022 Start-Up Challenge judge’s spot, free registration for the 2021 Industry Leaders Summit and a company feature in a 2021 SFIA research report. And all of the finalists will receive one year of SFIA membership, a company highlight in 2021 SFIA research report, personal introductions to five judges of your choice and real-time feedback.

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