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SFIA Opens Applications for Inaugural Start-Up Challenge at 2016 Industry Leaders Summit

Date: 5/2/16

Silver Spring, MD, May 2, 2016 – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) today opens the application process for the SFIA ‘Start-Up Challenge,’ to be held at the 2016 SFIA Industry Leaders Summit (ILS), in Denver, Colo., September 14-15, 2016.

From May 1 - May 30, 2016, up-and-coming companies can submit their pitch to become finalists in the ‘2016 SFIA Start-Up Challenge.’ Stadia Ventures, a ‘sports innovation hub for entrepreneurs, industry partners and investors’, will assist the SFIA in the vetting process for all applications.

“The SFIA Start-Up Challenge is generating a lot of interest within the sports entrepreneurial community due to the unprecedented access to senior decision makers at the leading brands in sports,” said Art Chou, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Stadia Ventures. “We expect this experience to deliver tangible business relationships for both the entrepreneurs and the industry leaders,” he continued.

Following careful consideration five finalists will be chosen and given 10 minutes each to pitch their ideas and introduce their company to industry executives, C-suite attendees and members of the SFIA Board of Directors at the 2016 SFIA ILS. A veteran roster of judges already committed to participate include:

•    Adam Peake, Executive Vice President category management, Under Armour
•    Chris Clawson, SFIA Chairman, President, Life Fitness
•    Bob Puccini, SFIA Immediate Past Chairman, President, Mizuno USA
•    Michael Savage, SFIA Secretary/Treasurer, CEO, Empower Fitness
•    Tony Armand, CEO, United Sports Brands
•    Jonathan Ram, Executive Vice President, New Balance
•    Mike Zlaket, President & CEO, Rawlings Sporting Goods

More will be announced in the coming weeks.

The five finalists will receive publicity in the lead-up to the 2016 ILS, special recognition during the annual ILS Awards Dinner, and real-time feedback from executives. The winner will leave Denver with a free year of SFIA membership, a spotlight in the ‘SFIA Insider Blog’, additional exposure through SFIA’s marketing channels, and a commemorative plaque.

"We are excited to highlight the latest innovations in our industry through this startup competition,” said SFIA President and CEO Tom Cove. “Entrepreneurism is alive in our industry and SFIA is looking to support small business in any way possible -- and this competition is reflective of that," he added.

Interested companies may apply for the ‘2016 SFIA Start-Up Challenge’ by clicking here.

ABOUT SFIA:  The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.


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