Collaboration between Skillnet Innovation Exchange and Sport Ireland supports the digital transformation of sport in Ireland

28 November 2023; Sport Ireland is pleased to announce the new and exciting Sport Innovation and Technology Summit at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena in Dublin. In attandance are, from left, Una Fox, Head of development, Skillnet Interchange, Dr Una May, CEO of Sport Ireland, Thomas Byrne TD, Minster for Sport and Physical Education, Mark Jordan, Chief strategy officer of Skillnet Ireland and Benny Cullen, Director of Innovation and Research for Sport Ireland. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Recently Skillnet Innovation Exchange announced a collaboration with Sport Ireland to support the digital transformation of sport in Ireland. Through its Digital for Sport initiative, Skillnet Innovation Exchange will invite technology solutions providers to pitch to, and collaborate with, sports organisations across Ireland looking to harness the power of digital technology to increase efficiencies and performance. 

The collaboration was announced at the inaugural Sport and Innovation Technology Summit held today at the Sport Ireland Campus where Skillnet Innovation Exchange called on digital solutions providers to explore how their solutions can be applied to the world of sports management and performance. The initiative is expected to achieve improved digital adoption across the Irish sports ecosystem, including streamlining administrative processes, optimising data management and communications and improving the understanding of participants performance and experience. 

Skillnet Innovation Exchange is Ireland’s innovation marketplace, connecting organisations facing digital transformation challenges with technology companies that can fast-track the solutions. Since its inception two years ago, 30 challenges have been published by Skillnet Innovation Exchange for companies with a digital challenge and 10 deals have been done between companies facing a challenge and companies with the ability to solve them. 

Skillnet Innovation Exchange is an initiative of Skillnet Ireland, the business support agency of Ireland that is responsible for advancing the competitiveness of businesses through providing skills programmes. Sport Ireland is the authority responsible for the development of sport in Ireland working with the 60 governing bodies of sport and a network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships.

Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD, commented: “Innovation and collaboration are core values of the Government’s National Sports Policy, so I am delighted to see this new partnership taking place between the Innovation Exchange and Sport Ireland, which will support the digital transformation of the Irish sports sector.  Technology has an impact on most aspects of our lives and so I want to commend all of the sports organisations, researchers and enterprises who came together today at the Sport Innovation and Technology Summit, to explore what role technology will play in shaping the future of sport in Ireland.”

Speaking at today’s launch, Conor Carmody, Programme Director at Skillnet Innovation Exchange commented: “This new collaboration between Sport Ireland and Skillnet Innovation Exchange will offer many SMEs the opportunity to collaborate with sporting organisations across Ireland, bridging the innovation divide and strengthening the Irish sport ecosystem. With today’s announcement we are thrilled to expand our offering and look forward to seeing the challenges and solutions develop in the next few years”.

Benny Cullen, Director of Research and Innovation at Sport Ireland said “The recently launched Sport Ireland strategy aims to drive innovation through creative collaborations across the sports sector and the promotion of a digital first approach. This new partnership with Skillnet Innovation Exchange will help Irish sport to deliver on these ambitions. This initiative will provide tailored supports to the Irish sport sector and Irish enterprise to help foster new partnerships and develop innovative digital solutions in sport.”

Mark Jordan, Chief Strategy Officer, Skillnet Ireland, said: “Digital transformation is one of the most significant challenges facing organisations across all sectors. This collaboration between Skillnet Innovation Exchange and Sport Ireland gives sport bodies the opportunity to access the talent required to enjoy the benefits of digital technology.”

Skillnet Innovation Exchange has successfully partnered with regional innovation hubs such as The Ludgate Hub, the Galway Technology Centre, GreenTech HQ, The Mill Hub and the RDI Hub. The continuing expansion of the Skillnet Innovation Exchange, which currently has in excess of 600 participants, allows a growing number of SMEs to enjoy the programme’s benefits, including access to an instant sales pipeline, market intelligence and the capability to sell to large companies. 

Corporate members get access to collaboration opportunities with Ireland’s most talented SMEs, accelerating their digital transformation. There are currently 34 corporate members of The Innovation Exchange, including Ryanair, Glanbia, ESB, Axa Insurance, Microsoft, IBM and IDA Ireland. 

Skillnet Ireland has committed €5 million over four years to fund the Skillnet Innovation Exchange which is designed to address the barriers that exist for scaling companies when selling to large companies and multinationals. The programme will support over 1,000 companies between 2022-2025.  

Skillnet Innovation Exchange invites digital solutions providers to join its marketplace for innovation at