A world organization, a local administration and a football club from Biscay (north of Spain) have launched an open innovation challenge that associates entrepreneurship with sports and tourism.
Intelligent and innovative solutions that maximise visitorsí experience in football stadiums and other activities that may follow (events, leisure, culture) are expected to be developed by startups under different types of technological cooperation
The coronavirus outbreak has paralysed the tourism industry devastating economies that are largely dependent on this sector. In many otherwise popular tourist destinations, hotels have been deserted and restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, theme parks and museums closed. Likewise, trade fairs, congresses and cultural events and sporting events (Euro 2020 football championship and the Olympic Games) have been cancelled or postponed until 2021.
The World Tourism Organization together with the provincial Government of Biscay (north of Spain) and a local football club have come up with this challenge based on the twofold underlying idea that sports can help restore the flow of tourists and visitors to its normal levels once this pandemic is over or the situation is more controlled. And secondly, that a visitor coming to the city for a football match can be attracted toward doing many other interesting things.
This challenge is aimed at technology startups with products or solutions potentially applicable in different working areas that would generate new business models in tourism. The goal is to make the most of the visitorís experience in relation to the football facilities, infrastructures, events, leisure and culture activities he or she will engage in while visiting the city. Stadiums are central nodes that connect with the rest of the touristic resources of the city and also of the region.
The challenge competition presents two categories in terms of the technology readiness levels of the projects. These must either be a:
1) TRL3 - Projects that are in the prototype of conceptual design development phase. Experimental proof of concept, or
2) TRL7 - Projects with a pilot project tested in the market. System prototype demonstration in operational environment.
Foreign companies who will establish their tax domicile in Biscay will receive a series of advantages: access to growth, acceleration services, financing advice for their projects and space on coworking premises for 6 months.
The challenge was launched on the 27th July and will be open for applications until 15th October. Interested start-ups will be guided through the challenge competition and website. Applicants will receive a link for the submission of their proposal after generating an EOI.
Bearing in mind the fact that the range of possible solutions is indeed, quite wide and open, the types of cooperation will likewise be really varied and dependent on whatever will be provided. Most likely types would be 3 technology agreements, namely: services, licence and commercial agreement with technical assistance because in these types of cooperation, the initiative lies with the partner whereas in research and technology agreements, the client takes the lead. These two will not be disregarded as they might be possible in the course of the competition.
- Type of partner sought: Candidates must present projects with a certain degree of feasibility, innovation, scalability, financial return, competitive advantages from short to medium term. Those can be further developed in collaboration with the football club
The leading team of the project is expected to give evidence of its degree of expertise, coherence, managerial capabilities and collaboration with other agentsÖ
Sustainability in terms of the environmental, economic and social impact of the prospective project will be a crucial evaluation criterium. The project should be alligned with the United Nation's sustainable development goals (SDGs).
- Specific area of activity of the partner: Partners this challenge is aimed at are technology startups that can develop products, solutions, services targeted at making the most of a visitorís trip who has come to the city to watch a football match in the first place. The partner must be able to stirr the interest of such a visitor into other activities through the proposed solution.
The prospective partner should provide solutions that will involve environmentally friendly new technologies with a great level of security for the visitor. The degree of development can vary according to level of technology readiness which can be either a TRL3 or a TRL7.
Given the possibility of collaboration with the football club in the co-development of products/services for the optimization in the use of existing resources/infrastructure, the envisaged types of cooperation are that of services, licence and commercial with technical assitance agreements. Research and technology cooperation types might also arise but on a second level.