The Confederation of Danish Industry Sees Sports Technology as a Danish Position of Strength: “We’re Capable of Something Special”

The Confederation of Danish Industry Sees Sports Technology as a Danish Position of Strength: “We’re Capable of Something Special”

According to Jens Holst-Nielsen, Deputy Director at DI, the sports-boom is a business opportunity for new startups as well as established companies: “Some companies have already succeeded – for instance DLF, who produce seeds. They have traditionally produced them for fields and agriculture, but they saw a market in football fields. They have done some of what we also expect other traditional industries to do.”

Sportstech is booming globally, but Denmark has been dealt an especially strong hand when it comes to grabbing global market shares, argues the Confederation of Danish Industry and The Danish Industry Foundation.

Sportstech is booming globally, but Denmark has been dealt an especially strong hand when it comes to grabbing global market shares, argues the Confederation of Danish Industry and The Danish Industry Foundation.

New technologies change the way we participate in and consume sports and exercise. And that is not only a good thing for sports and the athletes. The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) sees the contours of a great business opportunity for Denmark.

“We think it is a very interesting area. It might even become a new position of strength for Denmark,” says Jens Holst-Nielsen, Deputy Director at DI, and continues:

Jens Holst-Nielsen, Underdirektør i Dansk Industri.

“We have secured our classic positions of strength – like design, green technology, and life science – because we have comparative advantages against other countries. And we can see the same advantages in sportstech. We’re capable of something special.”

To strengthen the industry, DI bets on sportstech as a partner of DIF Innovation Lab, alongside DIF and Danish Design Centre. The goal is quite simply to stimulate growth and increase employment in the sportstech sector.

An Ace Up The Sleeve

At present, sportstech is a booming industry globally. A report from the accountancy titan KPMG shows that the industry was valued at 27.5 billion dollars globally in 2018, and is expected to grow to 93.8 billion dollars in 2027.

While Holst-Nielsen emphasises that Danish companies’ general capacity for innovation, willpower and an adventurous spirit are strengths when competing internationally, he also sees a particular ace up the sleeve of the sportstech industry:

“Combined with Denmark’s well-organised sports communities and leagues, who can provide testing facilities and data for companies developing products for the sports world, we have a tremendous advantage in securing market shares of this globally growing market,” he says.

He notes that both clubs and sports leagues are tremendously willing to enter dialogues with the business world. And this widespread culture of cooperation is also present in both new tech start-ups and established companies wanting to enter the world of sports.

“Many of the traditional industries already have branches in the sports sector – or they have the potential to. Traditional food companies are starting to launch functional products aimed at athletes, and the health, clothing, and fashion industries have done the same. It is a fast-growing market that traditional industries can tap into,” he says.


DIF Innovation Lab

  • The project’s goal is to strengthen growth and employment for Danish companies and Danish sports by supporting the development of new and innovative products, solutions, and services for the sports industry.
  • The project is backed by the Sports Confederation of Denmark, the Confederation of Danish Industry, and Danish Design Centre. The Danish Industry Foundation supports the project with 9,9 million DKK.

A Global Perspective Now

Denmark already has strong sports organisations, a digitally competent population, and a range of sportstech companies who have shown just how great the potential really is.

Denmark is in a very strong position if the efforts can be coordinated between different stakeholders towards global goals. Which is one of the reasons why The Danish Industry Foundation has backed DIF Innovation Lab with 9.9 million DKK.

“The international sports market is growing, and we need to ride that wave. A lot of countries is already investing into sports-focused startup hubs, and we have to target our efforts if we want our share of the market,” says Thomas Hofman-Bang, CEO at The Danish Industry Foundation, and adds:

“With DIF Innovation Lab we want to strengthen the ecosystem of sportstech and create an attractive community for product development and export. For instance, by partnering with stakeholders within sports, business and knowledge to ensure a broad anchoring in the world of sports, mobilize business partnerships and strengthen the access to venture capital, test facilities and students.”

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