Sports tech Centre of Excellence helps entrepreneurs connect and grow

Published: 24 Nov 2021

ASTN Chair James Demetriou

Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.

After an exciting career as an elite netballer, Sarah Wall is using her passion to encourage and inspire players of all ages through her sports technology company, NETFIT Netball.

Ms Wall has played for top teams like Melbourne Phoenix, Queensland Firebirds, Melbourne Vixens, but these days the focus is less on competition and more on using netball to promote healthy living and build community. Through NETFIT, she offers online netball programs, clinics and a fitness app.

Sarah WallIt’s a rewarding and innovative pursuit, and one that’s reached a whole new level since she got involved with Victoria’s first ever centre for sports technology innovation, the Australian Sports Innovation Centre of Excellence.

“I think that physical connection is a piece that sports technology has missed,” says Sarah. A physical centre was much needed - it is sort of like a clubroom.”

Sarah Wall coaching other netballer

Led by the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN), which is the governing body for sports innovation, sports digital and sports technology, the Centre of Excellence will support businesses to share knowledge, develop new products, connect and collaborate nationally and internationally.

The Centre of Excellence opened in September and will be connected to Victoria’s flagship Digital Hub in Cremorne. NETFIT is one of over 500 sports technology businesses it supports.

Entrepreneurs, like athletes, need to be connected to a support network. Ms Wall says networking with similar businesses through the new Centre is key to growing her own.

“The Centre is much needed to create a space for like-minded innovators to share ideas,” she said.

“It’s a really connected network with people that aren’t in it for themselves – they’re in it to grow young entrepreneurs.”

The Centre facilitates networking, providing one-on-one mentoring programs, workshops and a space where sports tech entrepreneurs, researchers and businesses can come together to share ideas and showcase products.

Ms Wall said it will not only be a huge advantage for Victorian sport technology businesses, but particularly for women in the industry.

“ASTN is right behind female founders – they really want to encourage women to back themselves and feel that they’re supported,” she said.

“We’re so lucky this centre is now in Victoria.”

ASTN Chair, James Demetriou, says the Centre will further solidify Victoria’s position as Australia’s leader in sports technology by helping startups and entrepreneurs.

“Since the announcement of the Centre, ASTN has seen increased interest from people domestically as well as from overseas wanting to connect with us,” Mr Demetriou said.

“We have outstanding capability in Australia and companies that could grow to become global companies.

“The Australian Sports Innovation Centre of Excellence is a prime opportunity to create the jobs of the future in terms of the digital networked economy in an area that we as Australians really love, which is sport.”

Australian Sports Innovation Centre for Excellence was made possible by a $4 million investment by the Victorian Government. It will support the creation of tech jobs and help companies to develop and expand globally.

Page last updated 21 Jun 2022
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