Outdoor Sports Valley (OSV), the French trade association of outdoor and winter sports companies, has unveiled the names of seven young companies that will receive its sponsorship in 2019. They are:
- Hästko, a producer of technical underwear for riders;
- MeroMero, a producer of durable, modular products for active parents and children;
- Apitour, business software for travel suggestions;
- Blackowl Events, an event agency specializing in the organization of outdoor events and equipment rentals;
- Masherbrum, a producer of original, illustrated T-shirts for mountain lovers;
- (nineteen)2, a digital solution that connects brands and their customers through product testing.
Contrary to OSV's incubator program, which is designed for brand-new companies, the sponsorship program is targeting more mature companies, with one to three years in business. Under the program, business leaders follow and guide the new companies for one year, with a minimum of three meetings. They share with them their vision, know-how and market knowledge, a real boost for young entrepreneurs.
In addition, OSV and its partners offer many benefits such as networking activities, one year's free membership in OSV, links to OSV partners specializing in business development, strategic support and consulting services offered by Mazars, free exhibition space in the French Sport-Achat summer or winter show, financial support, zero interest loans and a bonus of €1,500 paid by OSV.
At the beginning of December, 17 candidates from the Annecy region – where OSV is based – and from nearby districts tried to win over a jury of experts. The seven selected entrepreneurs stood out for the viability of their projects, their innovation and their environmental qualities, but also for their motivation to become future business leaders in the outdoor industry.
Since the launch of OSV's sponsorship program in 2011, 32 winners have been shepherded by business leaders or experienced executives within the industry. They have received €3.4 million in financing and created 40 jobs.
OSV is ending this year with about 450 members, 50 more than at the end of 2017, and with a rise in its total annual budget to €1.4 million from €1.3 million. Subsidies from regional authorities increased to €585,000 for 2018 from about €465,000 in 2017, partly because of the merger with Sporaltec in mid-2018 and partly because the Annecy Base Camp business incubator is now operating at full speed.
In particular, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region has raised its contributions to the outdoor sector via OSV to €290,000 for both the incubator's and OSV's operating budgets and to €245,000 for the management and supervision of international trade shows (€120,000 is paid directly to brands). The corresponding subsidies for 2017 had been €135,000 and €245,000, respectively.
To achieve a better balance between public funding and membership fees, the latter were raised slightly in September.