Banco Santander and GSIC powered by Microsoft launch challenge to innovate football through inclusion, diversity and sustainability

Banco Santander and the Global Sports Innovation Center powered by Microsoft (GSIC) have launched ‘FootballCan 2041’, a joint initiative to create the best innovation solutions to make football more inclusive, diverse and sustainable. This initiative aligns with Santander’s purpose to help people and businesses prosper, and with its strategy to have a positive impact on football and society.

The challenge aims to identify the most promising technological solutions that:

  • Promote initiatives for more accessible, inclusive and environmentally friendly events for football fans
  • Develop new experiences at football events and improve fan experience to have a positive social impact
  • Extend the scope of Fieeld and improve its capabilities. Fieeld is a device Santander has developed so visually impaired people can experience football like never before by following the ball using their fingertips

Juan Manuel Cendoya, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Santander Spain, said:

Fans or not, many of us believe in the power of football to drive change and in its potential to have a positive impact on lives. At Santander, we call this FootballCan, the umbrella under which we run initiatives that align with the bank’s purpose and contribute to diversity, inclusion and sustainability through the Beautiful Game.

Iris Córdoba, the general manager of GSIC, said:

We’re committed to innovative companies and organisations that add value to the sports industry in their digital transformation processes. Forming part of this initiative allows us to support Banco Santander in achieving their strategic goals and offer the 3 selected projects membership of GSIC with all the benefits that it implies, including connections with our network, experts, ambassadors and participation in activities which will facilitate of possibility of launching a pilot project with Santander.

Participants can leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and the Internet of things to submit initiatives, experiences and/or technological solutions that improve lives based on the following areas:

  • Inclusion: solutions for vulnerable groups at risk of social, economic, or cultural exclusion, and educational solutions linked to football.
  • Diversity: solutions that promote equality in football, regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion or nationality.
  • Sustainability: solutions to make professional football more responsible towards climate change and the sustainable management of energy and resources.

This challenge is another step forward in Banco Santander’s strategy to promote innovation and bring the digital transformation to football through initiatives that benefit industry and society and leave a mark on football.

Startups challenge

The entry period, which ends on 18 April, will conclude with a panel comprising Santander, GSIC and Microsoft representatives choosing the best 30 startups. Those companies will present their projects online and the 10 finalists chosen at the end of April will attend the grand final in May.

A panel made up of UEFA and LaLiga representatives, as well as key figures like Ronaldo Nazário, will select the three companies, who could be in with a chance to run a pilot project with Santander.

The challenge offers finalists a host of benefits:

  • EUR 10,000 in cash. Any chosen project that can apply its technology to improve Fieeld will receive an extra EUR 5,000.
  • One-year free membership to the Global Sports Innovation Center powered by Microsoft.[1]
  • Mentoring and a pilot project worth EUR 10,000.[2]
  • Support on the execution of the pilot, including follow-up meetings.

More information:

Apply to FootballCan 2041

Legal basis for participation

[1] * Any chosen company that is a GSIC member already will have a 50% membership discount.

[2] This does not include additional costs to execute the pilot.

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