SportUp Boost NL

30th May 2023

SportUp Boost will be rolled out to four accredited Sport Innovation Valorization Centers in the Netherlands. We will provide support of this project together with imec.istart. IMEC NL's participation also involves the imec.istart support program, the No. 1 university business accelerator in Europe and No. 4 in the world on the UBI Global ranking.

The innovation centers will recruit and support startups with an early stage business idea. The startups will go through a pre-accelerator phase supported by SportUp Boost NL and will be prepared for participation in the imec.istart NL support program. If they are selected for this program, they can work on developing, rolling out and scaling up their sports & vitality business proposition. They can also directly valorize their proposition in a sport innovation environment. A funding of €100.000 to €250.000 is available for the selected start-ups. Ik dacht 50k als startbasis? The Netherlands is among the leaders in the field of sports technology and sports innovations. The demanding nature of top sport and the accompanying extreme attention to detail makes top sport a breeding ground for technological innovations. With the SportUp Boost NL project, the partners expect to give a huge boost to the startup ecosystem in the Netherlands with the introduction of our successful SportUp Boost program (in Flanders) which will be better linked to the Sportinnovator centers and the imec.istart NL initiative.

Who is involved?

These are the 4 Sport Innovation Valorization Centers who are committed to this project:

  1. Innovation lab Thialf - Heerenveen - Friesland Innovation Lab Thialf is a key partner in developing products and services that contribute to improving sports performance, sports experience and sports facilities.
  2. Amsterdam Institute of sport Science (AISS) - Amsterdam - North Holland The AISS is an ambitious network organization of experts and partners in sport science, education, healthcare and sport practice. They optimize health and performance from applied sport and exercise science to tackle complex challenges related to sport, exercise and health.
  3. Sports Center Papendal - Arnhem - Gelderland Sports Center Papendal is the largest top sports training center in the Netherlands. They facilitate the top athletes at Papendal in every way possible.
  4. Foundation Orange Sports Forum - Eindhoven - North Brabant The OSF is developing a sports business network relevant to domestic and foreign use. They support, represent and advise sports companies and institutions with international (export) ambitions.

Kickoff in Ghent

People from both regions came together in ‘De Krook’ in Ghent, where also imec.istart BE is situated. During this day, people met in real life, got to know each other, and the Dutch delegation was informed about SportUp and its related experiences.


First we started with a brief introduction of the SportUp team and all the partners involved. Next Elise presented how SportUp was set up financially and logistically. Elise also talked about our communication and marketing strategy, how it was set up, which channels we use, which communication tools we use and how we progressed over the years.

Then it was time for a lunch break. Our guests had the opportunity to meet one of the imec.istart coaches, Joris Finck to talk about his experience with SportUp Boost and some of the startups he has coached in the past. Joris joined us for the afternoon and gave extra information about the tools imec.istart uses to guide the startups in the process from idea to a scalable business.


We discussed about SportUp Boost and SportUp Start in detail, how the programs look like, how startups go through the intake process and the evolution over the years. We gave some insights in the status of the startups who were involved in SportUp. Then there's just SportUp Meet left to explain: all the different meetup topics, the logistics behind the events and the evolution over the years. Lastly, we talked about the lessons we learned over the years and the experiences we've had to help our Dutch neighbors to set up the SportUp Boost program as smoothly as possible.

Next steps

We will meet again at the SportUp Café on June 1st where our Dutch partners can meet some more of the startups that already participated in SportUp Boost. A great opportunity to learn from the experience of the participants themselves. Maybe we’ll see you there as well?

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