What is the Sports Innovation Challenge?

The Sports Innovation Challenge is an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurial students and recent graduates from across Scotland to make their mark on the world of sport. The Challenge will teach students about sports market opportunities and how to love and protect their idea with trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property. The Challenge will also provide participants with sports-related business startup advice and help them to make valuable industry contacts.


Who can take part?

Any student(s) from any College, University or Research Institution within Scotland as well as those who have graduated within the last two years and are living in Scotland.


I don’t have an idea yet. Can I still take part?

Definitely! All you need to do is express your interest in taking part in the Challenge. We will be running a series of exciting workshops that are sure to inspire you to come up with something special.

What is innovation? 

We'll let our friend Sasha from the University of Stirling answer this one!


What are the various stages of the Challenge?

1. Workshops to help you turn your idea into a business

2. Mentoring from business insiders, so your business proposal can be fine-tuned

3. Pitching Event – your chance to convince the judging panel that your idea deserves the prize

4. Final Event – find out who’s won, meet up with other Challengers and network with business insiders


Do I have to start a business?

The initial stages are open to anyone and there is no requirement to start a business at the end of the process. However, in order to compete for and win a prize, you must have started a business or intend to start one. A registered company is required before you can access any cash prizes.


My friend(s) and I have a great idea – can we work together?

Absolutely! We welcome both individual and team applications.


My friend(s) is/are enrolled at a different university; can we be in the same team?

Yes, the competition is open to students from universities and colleges across Scotland.


I’m not from a Sports or Business/Marketing background – can I still enter?

Yes! Students from all fields of study are encouraged, there’s no requirement to have studied business in any way.


I’m an exchange student – can I apply?

Exchange students can attend the Challenge events, but are not eligible to win the prizes unless their business will be registered in Scotland.


I’m a graduate, can I take part?

Yes! The Challenge is open to all graduates who graduated within the last two years. Please contact a member of the team if you are unsure if you are eligible to participate or not.


What if I'm not invited to attend the "Earn & Learn" event – can I still take part?

Attendance at Earn & Learn is by invitation only, however you can also still enter the Challenge via the website if you're invited. 

What are the prizes?

Read more about the prizes here.


How is the Challenge evaluated/judged?

The Challenge judges will be evaluating applications against specific criteria. These are:

1) Level of Innovation

2) Level of Viability 

3) Entrepreneurial Spirit


How can I be sure that I own all the rights to my idea?

You will learn everything you need to know about Intellectual Property through the events and support offered by the Challenge. If your idea has come about as a result of your studies then you may need to check your rights with your local Student Enterprise Manager, as some Universities have changed their guidance on this recently. If in doubt, please ask us for guidance.


I’m worried about telling other people about my idea – what should I do?

We will be covering intellectual property at the Earn & Learn Academy and we'll help you to understand what you can tell people. The Sports Innovation Challenge team has all signed Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) which means you can chat with them without worrying about the security of your idea being compromised.