SPORT IT 2022: Convergence Of Ideas, Knowledge & Innovation


Bhubaneswar: Celebrating the spirit of innovation, effectuation and inclusion, XAVIER-EMLYON business school, a one-of-its kind Indo-French collaboration between XIM University, Bhubaneswar and emlyon business school, France and the only academic high performance center of excellence in sports industry management of Odisha organised the second edition of SPORT IT virtually on April 15 and 16, 2022 in a grand manner.
The event organized in collaboration with the Sports and Youth Services Department, Tourism Department, Start-Up Odisha and FICCI witnessed participation of over 30 start-ups, investors and industry experts from different parts of the country. The event took place on an exclusively curated platform of FICCI and the theme this year was ‘Sports, Tourism and Technology’.
The inaugural session was attended by Additional Secretary, Tourism, Durga Prasad Mohapatra; Joint Secretary, Sports and Youth Services, Department, Government of Odisha, Ranjit Parida, Managing Editor, Sports, Aaj Tak, Vikrant Gupta; Secretary General, Wrestling Federation of India, V N Prasood; Founder Sports App, Shashank Mishra; Dean, XEBS, Prof Arun Kumar Paul; Chairman, XEBS, Ashley Fernandes and was moderated by Senior Manager, Operations, XEBS, Diksha Tiwari. Although Minister, Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha, Tusharkanti Behera, could not attend the session but he shared a message through which he welcomed the entrepreneurs and industry experts participating in the unique event and appreciated the efforts put in by XEBS to promote an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit within the sporting community.
This was followed by the kicking off by the Startup Mashup which was a virtual exhibition for startups working in the sports, technology and tourism domains. The first day also saw students and entrepreneurs participating in the National Innovation Challenge that was organised in collaboration with Start-up Odisha and AIC Nalanda. The contest was opened a month back on predefined themes for ideas/prototypes in sports and tourism sectors and the finale saw the participants pitching in for the same.
Later in the evening there was a panel discussion on the subject ‘Sports and Tourism: Responsibilities and Opportunities’. The panelists included CEO, Hockey India, Elena Norman; MD QTT Adventure Sports Academy Pvt Ltd and General Secretary, Surfing Federation of India, Jehan Driver; Rajya Sabha MP, Dr. Sasmit Patra; MD (India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal operations), Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts, Souvagya Mohapatra; Co-chair, FICCI Sports Committee and Founder, WordsWork Communications Consulting, Neha Mathur Rastogi and Entrepreneur, Fitness and Wellness Expert, Franchise Owner of IRONMAN India, Deepak Raj. Moderated by Diksha Tiwari, the session threw light on how sports and tourism are becoming increasingly interlinked and the immense opportunities it holds. When big marquee sports events take place, they provide a big boost for the local economy and are an important driver of tourism, the 2018 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar being a prime example.
The second day began with an ‘Investor’s Corner’, an exclusive interaction session where emerging entrepreneurs got the opportunity to pitch before investors, which included ah! Ventures, Kolkata Sports Ventures and thinQbate.
This was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Sports Industries in India: Management and Mindset Challenge’. The panelists included, Founder, SportsCourses,com, Arup Soans; Project Director, Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC, Rajiv Seth; Digital Marketing and Communications Head, Decathlon Sports India, Gaudham Ganesh; President, JUM Consulting, Paris, Julien Montel and COO, Marwah Sports, Aritra Chatterjee and XEBS Chairman Ashley Fernandes was the moderator. The panelists were optimistic about how far India has come when it comes to the management of sports in India in the last decade and with the public-private partnership growing stronger with each day, they spoke about a bright future for the sporting industry.
The day also saw the Tourism Department and the Sports Department giving a window to the entrepreneurs to pitch about their start-ups/products. While Additional Secretary, Tourism heard the tourism-based entrepreneurs, Secretary, Sports and Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha R Vineel Krishna and CEO, Hockey India, Elena Norman were all ears for the sports-based entrepreneurs.
These sessions were highly appreciated by the entrepreneurs from different parts of the country because of the sheer will and intent of the Odisha Government, particularly the Sports Department (since many of the participants were from outside Odisha for the pitching session) to encourage and support young talents.
This was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Sports and Entertainment: Getting the Model Right’. The panelists for this discussion were, President, Delhi Football Association, Shaji Prabhakaran; Bollywood Singer and IPL Performer, Shibani Kashyap; Indian National Hockey Player, PR Sreejesh; COO, IOS Sports and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Rahul Trehan and CEO and Co-Founder, The Bridge, Arshi Yasin. The session was moderated by Diksha Tiwari and panelists discussed the evolution of sports into entertainment, the revenue that comes from it, how it benefits the ecosystem while also stressing on the fact that the most important aspect is the sport and the performance of the sportsperson itself. The panel also stressed on inclusion and the need to turn to other sports apart from cricket.
The concluding panel discussion focused on ‘Future of Global Sports: Technology, Innovation and Inclusion’ and the panelists were CEO Marwah Sports, Pranav Marwah; Head – Investor Relations and Strategic Alliances, ah! Ventures, Harsh Deodhar; Co-Founder, JOIN and Yakar, Jonathan Szwarc; Former Cricketer and Entrepreneur, Jaya Sharma and Head of Student Affairs and Recruitment, Tony Parker Adequat Academy, Maureen Reat. The session was moderated by Arup Soans and panelists deliberated on the growing need of technology by sports teams and associations which has fuelled several start-ups and innovators. Data-driven technology has become crucial in assessing team performances, fan management and stadium engagement experience.
The concluding ceremony of the event, sponsored by OMC and supported by the Industries Department, witnessed the announcement of all winners. For NIC, in the student category, the first prize, a cash award of Rs. 30,000 went to Prajukta Mohanty of SAI International School, Bhubaneswar and the runners up prize, a cash reward of Rs. 20,000, was given to Spandan Srinivas and team, of XEBS. In the entrepreneur category the prizes went to Jaydev Mahapatra, Founder of ARDOR FOOTBALL ACADEMY LLP and Zahid Akhtar, Founder of BHIMKUND ECO TOURS. They were awarded Rs 50,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively, all sponsored by Start-Up Odisha.
The winners of Start-up Mashup were Sujit Panigrahi and his Haryana based Sequoia Fitness and Sports Technology Pvt. Ltd. and Ananta Prasad, Founder of Mutt Hospitality Ventures Pvt. Ltd. Both were awarded cash prizes of Rs 2 lakh each on behalf of the departments.
The event was a great learning and networking platform for the entrepreneurs. Both the investors and the government have already evinced interest to have a second round of discussion with some of the participants.
“XEBS has been challenging the status quo and trying to offer a unique value proposition. In difficult times, more than ever we have been reminded that we had to share, care and dare. Now in the process of recovery, SPORT IT is just another expression of this drive- sharing information, caring for all stakeholders by providing them with new opportunities and daring them to make a better and inclusive future. The innovative public-private partnerships, the cross fertilization between sports and tourism, sport as an inclusive and impactful social model are all signs of the very forward thinking of the Odisha government and administration,” shared Ashley Fernandes, Chairman XEBS and hoped for a brighter and better future.

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