The Inno4Sports project brings together five regions that all aim to improve the performance of innovation clusters around sport and vitality, that have emerged in various regions in the EU. In a new series we interview all the partners in the project about their goals, learnings and efforts to put sports on the map in their region. In the second episode we talk with Piotr Jakubiak from Verde - Klaster Innowacji dla Sportu in Lodz, Poland.

Why did you decide to join the Inno4Sports project? 

“We started the Verde cluster about seven years ago, because my company Dywilan SA produces artificial grass and we wanted to help business, institutions and contractors among many others in this particular area. Three years ago, Cluster Sports & Technology approached us to be part of the Inno4Sports project. We joined the project because we think it’s a good opportunity to build up activities on a regional level and create more awareness for the importance of sports and innovation for a more active and healthy life. Because we participate in the Inno4Sports project more partners joined the Verde cluster and we got in touch with local authorities.” 

How do you try to put sports on the map in Lodz? 

“The first step is to create awareness. In most of the other regions of the Inno4Sports project local authorities are already very much aware of the importance of sports for a more vital society. In Lodz the situation is different. The last few years we started to make progress and have been able to put sports on the map in the region. Because of the study trip we were supposed to host in April, we got in touch with local authorities. That was a big step for us. The Verde cluster is also involved in other projects, such as Erasmus+, that help put sports on the map in Lodz.” 

What did you learn so far in the Inno4Sports project? 

“Thanks to our involvement in the project the Verde cluster came back to life and is now flourishing. This is maybe not a learning, but of course it’s very important for us. During the study tour in Lapland we learned how good local authorities work together with small businesses and other local organizations. The local authorities act when the stakeholders ask for help. The situation in Poland is very different. We would like to change that. From top down, to bottom up.” 

How can Inno4Sports help in reaching your goals? 

“Because of our involvement in the project we learned from the good practices in other countries. We would like to present these good practices to local authorities and then start implementing some of them. The second phase of the Inno4Sports project is to write an action plan. The other partners can help us write this plan. We can learn from each other. In the nearby future we would like to organize more activities, so the stakeholders of the Verde cluster can meet each other. We can invite project partners to those meetings and share good practices.” 

What is the ultimate goal for Verde? 

“The main goal is to be an excellent cluster for sports innovation. We would like to connect all the stakeholders, share our experiences from other countries and find partners to work on new projects. Moreover, we find that nowadays, with the pandemic crisis, we must focus on assist all sports-related businesses, that really need urgent help.” 

Read the interviews with the other project partners: