The Ministry of Education’s Sports Accelerator Program has achieved remarkable results in assisting sports startups in international linkages and industry-academia collaborations.

The Ministry of Education’s Sports Administration and the IAPS (Industrial Accelerator and Patent Development Strategy Center) at National Chiao Tung University have collaborated with HYPE Sports Innovation, an international sports innovation accelerator based in Israel, to launch the SPIN Accelerator TAIWAN program. On the 4th of this month, the first edition of the program’s Demo Day was held at the 3F Auditorium, Sports Administration MOE. The event was attended by Director-General Gao Junxiong of the Sports Administration, Director Huang Jingyao of National Chiao Tung University’s IAPS, and partners from HYPE who traveled from Israel. In addition, major industry players such as the cycling giant Giant Group, innovative sports retail chain Decathlon, innovation-driven golf courses, professors from various sports schools in Taiwan, and startup investors also attended the event to show their support for the first batch of sports startups.

HYPE Sports Innovation is a global driving force for sports startups. Their collaborations include universities and institutes with innovative entrepreneurship programs or incubation units such as the University of Queensland in Australia, Loughborough University in the UK, Trentino University in Italy, and Stockholm University in Sweden. Since its establishment in 2014, HYPE has built a network ecosystem of over 9,000 sports startups and 26,000 global mentors. HYPE not only facilitates partnerships with brand innovation departments such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour but also arranges collaborations with sports teams and events worldwide. Recognizing Taiwan’s innovative capabilities and mature industrial resources, HYPE has chosen Taiwan as an important base for hosting the first and only sports accelerator program in Asia.

Established in 2013, the IAPS at National Chiao Tung University is the first industry accelerator founded by academia in Taiwan. It has undertaken incubation and acceleration programs in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, and other institutions (such as iCAN, Innosquare, and Fog Computing Alliance). It has also received investments and collaborations from companies such as Foxconn Technology Group, Chunghwa Telecom, AUO Group, and Shin Kong Financial Holding. The IAPS has nurtured sports technology startups such as Golface, GoMore, Chasewind, and FIDODARTS, and has incubated nearly a hundred startups to date. In 2015, it was ranked first in the Asia-Pacific region and seventh globally among accelerator centers by UBI Global, a leading ranking and research organization for incubators and accelerators.

The SPIN Accelerator TAIWAN program aims to integrate domestic sports industry resources and serve as a platform primarily focused on team services. It is the first accelerator program in Taiwan dedicated to the sports industry. As the organizer, the IAPS initially combines Taiwan’s sports talents and builds bridges between sports and entrepreneurship, leveraging the potential and advantages that benefit the startup ecosystem. Through the SPIN Accelerator TAIWAN platform, Taiwanese sports startups can access HYPE’s resources, enhance international connections, and showcase Taiwan’s industrial advantages, increasing the potential for collaborations.

Furthermore, the SPIN Accelerator TAIWAN program consists of two training cycles per year, with separate registrations and no fees. It kicks off with a Boot Camp where selected teams for the first training cycle are chosen. The training includes workshops on entrepreneurship readiness, practical operations, marketing channels, and invites industry professionals in the sports sector to share their experiences and provide networking opportunities. The program also facilitates team matchmaking and introduces them to relevant companies, as well as collaborates with related events and activities, providing opportunities for team exposure and networking. The program includes training in English pitching and storytelling, one-on-one mentoring with seasoned entrepreneurs, online courses and guidance from HYPE experts on operational models, and CXO meetings with HYPE partner brands to provide guidance on investor attraction strategies. Additionally, in terms of technical research and development, the program offers access to laboratory spaces for field validation and arrangements for professional athletes as test subjects. Each cycle concludes with a Demo Day where at least two teams are selected. The SPIN Accelerator TAIWAN program aims to integrate resources and play a key role in promoting business opportunities in the sports technology market.