MELBOURNE – 02 July, 2014: META, a collaborative network of high potential manufacturing businesses and researchers, and the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) today announced a partnership to give Australian manufacturers the opportunity to take a greater share of the $300 billon global sports technology market.

The new META Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub is part of META’s strategy to demonstrate the capability of Australian manufacturers, and will focus on fostering innovation in sports technologies such as wearable devices, smart apparel, equipment, medical technologies and health products.

“The market for sports technology and equipment is valued at $300 billion globally, presenting a massive opportunity for Australian businesses,” said James Demetriou, Chairman of ASTN. “Australia currently has a tiny share of that market. We export only $286 million in manufactured sports products but import $2 billion from overseas. The Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub has been created to address this imbalance as there is a very real risk that Australia will get left behind if we don’t take action now.”

The Hub, one of over 10 to be launched this year, aims to provide stronger connections between SMEs, researchers and large corporations to support the development, marketing and export of Australian sports technologies, products and services worldwide to establish a global centre of advanced manufacturing in sports products.

“We want to establish Australia as a global leader, not only on the sports field but also in sports manufacturing and technology. We will connect the dots between manufacturers and researchers, build the brand of our sports technology industry and showcase Australia’s capabilities to the global market,” said Zoran Angelkovski, Managing Director, META.

In addition to nurturing new technologies and expanding export opportunities, the Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub will also work to encourage foreign investment and create employment opportunities through new commercial projects.

Led by the ASTN with ongoing support from META, the Hub will feature a core team working in collaboration with META and ASTN members, who will have responsibility for the development of commercial projects that can be transitioned to mass sports consumer markets domestically and internationally.

The sports technology market is dominated by the American market which currently accounts for 41 per cent of the industry and the new partnership aims to give Australian companies the support needed to increase their market share.

“We produce and export elite athletes and coaches, but when it comes to sports technology and manufacturers, we have some of the best in the world but we need to do more to promote them globally. Through the META Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub we want to support an Australian industry that has, until now, been overlooked,” said Angelkovski.

“Our country is a major global player in industries such as mining and medical science but we have so far failed to fully exploit the potential of our sports technology such as smart apparel, wearable technologies and protective wear,” said Demetriou. “We have a pipeline of projects that have overseas interest and it is the job of the Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub to convert this interest into tangible opportunities and sell Australian innovation to the world.”

Through the META Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub, ASTN and META members will also work together to identify ways that technology being developed for sport can be transferred across other applicable industries, such as research into fatigue on muscles or the development of protective equipment being transferred into the aged care or defence industries.

Hub members will initially be drawn from META’s membership, alongside ASTN’s national network including SMEs, universities and national sporting organisations.

Australian manufacturers interested in participating the Hub should visit meta.org.au for information on becoming a META member.