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Why the Via Sponsorship Conference is so Important

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This content was originally published on the Via Sponsorship website.

Why The Via Sponsorship Conference Is So Important

Quite a declaration, but it begs the questions: can it be done? Is it necessary? And what difference can the conference make in the industry?

Strap yourselves in folks, as these somewhat drab questions have some very interesting answers. Okay, so we are not talking formula 1 racing, competition sailing, extreme skiing or anything adrenaline filled. . . Hang on a second? Yes, we are, that's exactly what we are talking about and those aforementioned questions are going to be answered right here.

This conference, the first of its type in Scotland, will feature plenty of opportunities for networking and is set to attract prominent speakers, sponsors, delegates in the industry and young athletes at the start of their careers. The conference will be full of exciting and stimulating conversations, networking and more and why will it be so unique? It's a forum for us to talk about what we are so passionate about, these sports, these pursuits that unite people. Break boundaries and launching careers with strong bonds forged between athletes, business and future sales and development.

What wrong with the industry?

Where does one begin? You can feel that we have a little chip on our shoulders about the sports sponsorship world right. Don't worry, this won't be a 1000 word rant, more of a chance to isolate, in no uncertain terms what's lacking. Bluntly, athletes don't get the representation they deserve for the incredible feats of athleticism they archive, particularly women. Then brands, companies and investors, who wish to put their name out there and to unite with talents, cant find the right opportunities. Giving back and being part of a community plus working together with projects that excite you is part of the development of businesses. It's at the heart of a brand, passion, drive and customer focus. An event like the VIA Sponsorship is needed to do just that, unite these pillars of growth.

National Pride

Sadly across the UK and Ireland, we are not doing our national talent justice. Programs similar to Scottish Women In Sport and the British Ski & Snowboard Association have been supporting athletes in other countries for a long to time. Corporate sponsorship in France and Switzerland in the Ski and Snowboard community, for example, are much more seamless, not to mention across in the US with sailing and racing etc but here on our wonderful little island, we have the innovation in business and we have the raw natural talent in the athletes but very little opportunity to unite the two. Businesses, investors and sponsors can put themselves at the forefront of a sport and see their potential soar in line with the insane achievements of athletes and particular sports. Think of the synonymous relationship of brands like Rolex and DHL with Formula 1 or Audi with the FIS. These collaborations become associations in the minds of the public.

The Speakers

We have the pleasure of working with some truly sensational speakers who have been able to bring something amazing to the table. Each speaker offers an insight into the industry that would be impossible to assess without the insider knowledge. We are going to be introducing just three here to high light the diversity and wealth of knowledge that will be present.

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Ardi Kolah, Author of Improving the Performance of Sponsorship and Conference Chair

Ardi Kolah is an expert in sponsorship marketing, PR and all things GDPR. He is also the author of the "Guru In A Bottle" series. Ardi will bring a marketing insiders perspective the conference, from an experienced perspective he will be covering why collaborations through sponsorship and investment in sport and talent is so valuable.

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Maureen McGonigle, Founder & Chief Executive, Scottish Women in Sport.

SWIS (Scottish Women in Sport) are trailblazers.

"At Scottish Women in Sport our vision is a Scotland where females of all ages, abilities, ethnicities and walks of life are participating in sport or physical activity; within a positive, equitable culture where their achievements are promoted and celebrated."

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Alan McLeish, Managing Director QTS Group

In 2014, pioneering leaders in railway infrastructure and design, The QTS Group, launched its Youth Athlete program. Designed to help up and coming young athletes, the programme has so far helped a selection of young people from a variety of disciplines.

Through the programme, QTS has watched each athlete grow as an individual within their sport. As well as financial support, the athletes also gain valuable exposure by having the support of a heavyweight brand such as QTS behind them. A keen supporter of youth in sport is QTS Managing Director, Alan McLeish. Alan, who started the QTS back in 1996, is passionate about sport, having had aspirations as a footballer before his career in arbor took over.

He said:

“We developed this initiative because we wanted to help the struggling athletes of tomorrow. The principle of the programme is to support young, emerging sporting stars across different sporting disciplines and give them the boost of a company such as QTS having confidence in them and their abilities.

“I played football when i was younger but there wasn’t a program like this around that would actively support young people in sport. I’m proud that through our youth athlete programme we are able to give talented youngsters an opportunity that they might not have had without the QTS backing.

“It’s a real thrill for us to watch them develop and grow, all while proudly wearing the QTS logo. For us, if we can say that we were part of the journey for the next big sporting star, we'll be pleased to know that we helped create an athlete who can inspire people to invest in sport.”

Now in its 4th year, the QTS Youth Athlete programme was shortlisted earlier this year in the Charity & Community Engagement Sponsorship and Grass Roots Sports Sponsorship categories in the UK Sponsorship Awards, against top brands such as Land Rover, McDonalds Restaurants and Movember.

Can We Make A Difference?

We certainly hope that we can make a difference. The Via Sponsorship event will serve as a catalyst for education about the sporting industry, about the up and coming talents in the UK and how together, we can create a beneficial relationship for all parties. Brands will see growth and increased awareness and the athletes will be supported to strive to go further. That glass ceiling is just begging to be smashed!

The countdown is officially on now. Only a few months away and with tickets booking up fast, so book your spot. Perhaps you want to be more intimately involved in the conference, in which case, great- why not exhibit, its a perfect networking opportunity. To discuss opportunities on how we can support you in engaging with the market and being part of our event, please contact Gordon Ritchie: info@viasponsorship.scot

Until our next article, (in the next few months we hope to cover plenty of topics, about the nature of the different sports, what's going on in the industry of each sport as well as cover innovative and creative business development ideas) follow us on social media and we look forward to meeting you in March.

Christopher Graham