The UK’s first sports business incubator will be officially launched at Stirling University Innovation Park on Thursday 2 February.

The Sport Hive is an innovative hub where entrepreneurs, students and businesses come together to develop ideas that enhance the world of sport.

Sharing a campus with Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, the Sport Hive builds on the University of Stirling’s reputation for sporting expertise and innovation.

The Sport Hive is the latest venture by Sporting Chance Initiative, which was set up in 2010 to identify and support Scotland’s sports entrepreneurs. Since its inception, the project has helped over 700 Scottish companies realise their business potential.

Programme Manager, Ryan Carenduff said: “We know from our national entrepreneurship programme, The Sports Innovation Challenge that the next generation of Scottish sports entrepreneurs are brimming with innovative ideas for sports products, services and technologies. The Sport Hive will help us nurture and support these entrepreneurs and other start-ups through mentoring, investment and our international links to other sports incubators in France, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Canada and Australia.”

The incubator is home to the next generation of sports business talent including Scotland’s first “Sports Entrepreneur in Residence”, Michael Harkins.

Michael, who teaches at one of Scotland’s top swim schools, is currently developing a multi-award winning children’s floatation aid, Turtle Pack, which promotes the correct body position for learning to swim.

Michael said: “Winning the Sports Innovation Challenge back in 2015 for Turtle Pack boosted my confidence and belief in my product, and my self-confidence as a young sports entrepreneur. The recognition and funding provided gave me the momentum and desire to kick-start the Turtle Pack journey. It’s a great honour to be part of The Sport Hive and I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with the other start-ups.”

Michael is joined in the Sport Hive by five fellow sports entrepreneurs, ‘Incubees’, who all receive business mentoring from industry experts to help grow their respective businesses.

Ideas in development include:
• A revolutionary new body protector for equestrian sport. More
• A patent-pending hydration product that converts water instantly into an isotonic sports drink. More
• An innovative sports sock that increases performance and reduces the chance of injury. More
• Training apparel fitted with SMART sensors for motion capture. More
• A pre-sport energy drink which doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients.