Applications Now Open for SFIA’s Start-Up Challenge

The 6th Annual Event Will Take Place Virtually This July

SILVER SPRING, MD (Feb. 9, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)’s annual Start-Up Challenge is back for the sixth time. The Start-Up Challenge, the industry’s premier innovation showcase, brings together young companies and entrepreneurs to pitch groundbreaking concepts in a competitive format. Up to 10 finalists will be selected from the applicant pool and will present virtually to over 100 judges, consisting of executives, investors, and thought leaders in the sports and fitness industry.

To date, SFIA has showcased 31 start-up companies as finalists, providing them with the opportunity to raise awareness, receive investments, initiate partnerships and kickstart their business in front of their target audience. Since participating in the Start-Up Challenge, these finalists have collectively raised over $168 million.

“Our industry is fueled by innovation, with start-ups leading the way,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President & CEO. “As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we need new ideas and bright entrepreneurs who care about making a difference in sports and fitness more than ever. SFIA is committed to supporting new ideas and we’re excited to again host the Start-Up Challenge to highlight the next wave of groundbreaking innovators and judges.”

All 2022 finalists will receive one free year of an SFIA membership, their company logo featured in an SFIA research report, direct leads and instant feedback on their company from all judges, and a personal introduction to five judges of their choice.

The grand prize winner will additionally receive free registration to SFIA’s Industry Leaders Summit (ILS) in October (annual C-level industry conference; $1,700 value), a panel speaking opportunity at ILS and public recognition at the dinner reception, national media coverage, a spotlight in SFIA’s State of the Industry Report, and more prizes to be announced.

The application is now live and open to any entrepreneur with an idea, product, or service in the sporting goods, team sports, sports tech and/or fitness space. All applications submitted before March 25, 2022, will be evaluated and considered for a finalist position.

Potential judges and interested Start-Ups can find additional information and the applications by clicking here or visiting

SFIA Start-Up Challenge Digital Media Partner: Spark Inc. 

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ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs and member services. For more information, please visit

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