• Asics is working to accelerate the use of sustainable materials and chemicals in its products, as well as promote sustainable growth.
  • As such, the company is is preparing to launch a technology incubator in Barcelona, designed to attract and support European sports and well-being start-ups.

Japanese sporting goods giant Asics is preparing to launch a technology innovation lab in Barcelona, designed to attract and support European sports and well-being start-ups.

Dubbed 'Tenkan-Ten', the concept forms part of the group's 'Growth Plan for 2020', which promotes sustainable growth and has a target of reaching net sales of JPY750bn (US$7bn) by 2020. The high-end footwear and sports brand's new space is set to open in September.

Spread over 2,500 sq ft, the hub will feature offices, meeting rooms, and a gym, while those selected to take part in the programme will benefit from EUR30,000 in funding as well as mentoring and training. Candidates will be guided on how to connect with a global network of retail distribution, high-level executives, venture capitalists, industry experts and media.

Mentors will also focus on development, while a training programme will be crafted to each start-up to help increase performance and ensure they are on-track to raise their next round of funding.

The first session is expected to commence in September. The effort comes in an attempt to tap into the increasing market of emerging European firms looking to revolutionise the future of the sports and fitness markets.

Barcelona is one of Europe's most active hubs, hosting around 1,300 tech start-ups, according to Asics, and is already in the top four list of startup and innovation hubs in Europe.

In order to apply, start-ups need to have already passed the MVP phase, have market validation and certain traction.

In return, Asics is asking for the right to convert loan and services in shares of the start-up company at a 20% discount, the right to carry out additional investments in the company, and the right to appoint an observer in the board. It also wants the right of first negotiation.

As part of its desire to accelerate the use of sustainable materials and chemicals in its products, Asics inked a strategic partnership with textile chemicals management system Bluesign Technologies in November.

Asics to improve sustainability of products and supply chain