Outdoor Sports Valley (OSV), the highly dynamic association of winter sports and outdoor companies based in the French alpine city of Annecy, has signed an agreement in principle with an unnamed American university for an exchange of students and know-how.

OSV is running three education programs in Annecy, conducted in English by experts in the sector, in which a total of close to 60 students from more than ten different countries are currently enrolled. Two of them - a bachelor's degree course in performance sports textiles and footwear, and a master's degree course in sports industry management - were launched already in September 2012. A third one, a bachelor's degree course in international sales of sporting goods, began in September this year.

Companies in the outdoor sector and other sporting goods categories are invited to take part in an OSV Internship Forum that will take place in Annecy on Nov. 27 to meet the students and identify candidates for internships after their course ends. The interviews can be held in English, German or even Chinese, depending on the requested skills.

Through its website, OSV is collecting job offers on a daily basis for employment in the region and elsewhere. The proposals are coming from many important outdoor companies such as Black Diamond, Columbia Sportswear, Oberalp and The North Face.

Many of the students from the 2013/14 cohort of the master's degree program in sports industry management are currently on internships at some important companies such as Amer Sports or Puma.

Organized by OSV in collaboration with EMLyon, ranked as the 13th best management school in Europe, the master's degree program gets the students to spend four months in Lyon to study general management and sports-specific topics, followed by three months in Annecy and four at a campus in Shanghai.

We are among the lecturers for this course, where 40 percent of the 20 students come from China, South Africa and other countries outside France. One-third of them are women. They will be visiting the Ispo show in Munich, where they will meet top executives from the industry and the retail sector.

Founded in April 2010, OSV has about 300 members and a staff of eight people. It has also made progress on other fronts. With the support of local authorities, it has a business mentoring program that has helped 16 innovative companies to establish themselves. Among other initiatives, it will launch a test laboratory for new outdoor products in mid-2015, complementing the Mountain Lab in Chamonix. It organized collective exhibitions by local firms at the last Ispo Munich and OutDoor fairs. It is thinking about doing the same at Ispo Beijing and at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City in the future.