Innovation partnership launched at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Feb 22, 2023

A strategic partnership designed to help early-stage businesses in the sport, health and wellbeing sectors innovate, collaborate and grow has been established at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

Working with Propel Teams, our newly-established partnership will provide start-ups and scale-ups with access to flexible workspace alongside a unique community of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, advisors and service providers, and a bespoke calendar of events through its carefully-curated membership programme.

Led by a dedicated onsite team located at our new flex workspace at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, ‘Landing Pad powered by Propel’ is aiming to create entrepreneurial opportunities for up to 100,000 individuals, and create a pathway to inspire and guide more than 10,000 businesses to fulfil their financial and social impact potential over the next seven years, at least one of which is hoped will become a unicorn by 2030.

Complementing the growing number of accelerator programmes based at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, which currently includes P4SY and AWRC Wellbeing and, with support from Team SY, Propel Teams will also host its own sports technology accelerator at Landing Pad. Jump is a two-month-long hybrid programme specifically curated for founders of sports technology start-ups creating products or services that either improve sporting performance, reduce the risk of injury or improve enjoyment or participation in sport.

Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is a unique proposition; the only Olympic Legacy Park outside a host city anywhere in the world, created with a shared vision that brings together public and private sector organisations alongside elite athletes to pioneer transformational health and wellbeing research, innovation and applied technology.

Legacy Park Ltd, an exclusive collaboration of seven key public sector partners established to drive forward the vision of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, will play a vital role in the partnership by helping to facilitate innovation pathways with academics and researchers located on the Park and further afield, as well as local and central government, the NHS and major corporates.

Sheffield has a thriving innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem and, thanks to its strong local-authority-led business support infrastructure, low cost of living, large working population and fantastic transport links, the city been ranked as the top UK city to start a business in 2022[1]. Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park also forms a key part of the wider South Yorkshire Innovation District – a global centre of connected innovation excellence in advanced manufacturing, green energy, advanced health and wellbeing.

However, many leading research publications have cited the close proximity of key players within a life sciences innovation ecosystem as crucially important to its overall success. By integrating Propel Teams’ global community with its masterplan to create up to 1m sq ft of commercial space around the established innovation assets and elite sporting facilities at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, we will cement the Park’s reputation as the North’s leading life sciences innovation ecosystem focused exclusively on the sport, health and wellbeing sectors.

Mark Jackson, Group Development Director at SGI, commented:

“Sheffield is a city with great entrepreneurial spirit and a wealth of resources in health, wellbeing, sports and activity. It is therefore uniquely well-positioned to support the UK’s innovation-led growth agenda. However, we recognise that we also need to develop a supportive economic environment, facilities and business services to help organisations to innovate, collaborate and grow.

“Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is already home to an extraordinary cluster of health innovation assets and elite sporting facilities, which provide a great foundation for its continued growth. We established our  partnership with Propel to develop the business and innovation ‘ecosystem’  within a high quality working environment, and we are delighted to welcome them to the team.  We know that they can bring together entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, advisors, service providers and local communities to maximise the innovation economy, and help us to make Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park the nation’s leading innovation ecosystem focused on the sport, health and wellbeing sectors.”

Matt Willcocks, Co-Founder of Propel Teams, said:

“We founded Propel Teams to have a positive impact. We believe impact is a team sport and measure our impact through the social and financial value we generate. Propel Teams provides opportunities and pathways for entrepreneurial individuals and teams to develop their skills, capabilities and businesses. We focus our energy on the sport, personal health and wellbeing sectors and are excited about working closely with Scarborough Group and Legacy Park Ltd to bring our network to compliment the immense strengths that exist on the park and in the region and to contribute to growing the legacy of 2012.”

Dr Chris Low, Chief Executive of Legacy Park Ltd, commented:

“Legacy Park Ltd and our member organisations are delighted to welcome Propel Teams to Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. Their ambition, vision and reach is already having an impact through the leading organisations and talented individuals that are being attracted to the Park on their recommendation.

“We look forward to working closely with Propel Teams and Scarborough Group International to take Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park to the next level.”

Landing Pad powered by Propel is already attracting strong interest from a range of pioneering start-ups looking to establish themselves at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

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