During Phase One of Inno4Sports project, the VERDE Foundation has identified two main challenges in the Lodzkie region in relation to policy making on sports & vitality. The first one – of strategic significance – is that the collaboration among stakeholders within the quadruple helix model does not function properly. The second point (of more operational meaning) is that new solutions on how to provide funding in order to boost innovation are very much demanded by industry.

These conclusions form cornerstones for the Action Plan for the Lodzkie region, which is being elaborated in close cooperation with the Marshal’s Office (the regional Managing Authority) as well as other key partners, basing on good practices and lessons learnt in other regions since 2018.

Strong regional coalition for sports and vitality is a good practice learnt from the Regional Council of Lapland (Arctic Sport Network). It answers our top need – active public policy towards sport and also better participation of q-helix partners within the process of policy making.

The lesson learnt could be implemented in the region by setting up the Lodzkie Sport Network, being a platform for consultation, learning and sharing ideas among q-helix actors, with a general goal of improving the quality of decision making process at the regional management level, basing on better understanding of the role and significance of sports & vitality sector.

Moreover, regarding the current COVID-19 situation, solutions which focus on the use of web tools turn out to be particularly valuable, which is why we wish to introduce locally the concept of webinars “Sport during and after Corona-virus”, described in the operational plan by the Lapland University of Applied Sciences and launched in September 2020. This good practice also forms background for the pilot action, scheduled to kick off in March 2021.

Having tackled the issue of strategic planning and collaboration, VERDE aims also at redefining funding rules for sport & vitality. Within the framework of the new EU perspective, VERDE would like to develop its activities as a business environment institution (BEI) by launching an action of holding an incubation & acceleration hub. Its core job would be to support SMEs by directing assistance under the ROP towards sports-related businesses as well as to make sure that they get proper coaching, consulting and accommodation services to enable growth for regional innovation.

The good practice of the Brabant region forms bases to this action. According to lessons learnt during the IE in Eindhoven, in South Netherlands there is a strong financial framework that supports activities of sports industry, R&D projects and NGOs, including clusters. Good example here could be the Vitality Living Lab project (14 partners working in a consortium, in a mix of field labs, knowledge institutes and companies, led by the S&T Cluster, Eindhoven) or HighTechXL (program co-funded by the Province of North Brabant and regional development agencies with sponsor support from financial sector and business contractors to develop new ideas and start-ups).