While moving into new headquarters, the Outdoor Sports Valley (OSV), a French trade association that brings together companies in the outdoor and winter sports industries, is on its way to a possible change in its status. Local regional authorities have asked it to become a “cluster” in the French sense of the word, i.e. a public-private institution that concentrates on the interconnection of businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions in a specific field.

OSV is planning to strengthen its partnership with Sporaltec, a regional cluster dedicated to innovation in the broad sports sector, which started in 2012 for the participation of French sports and outdoor companies in international events like the Ispo and OutDoor trade shows. OSV also recently partnered with Cluster Montagne, which promotes the development of mountain resorts for a variety of outdoor activities and their safety.

OSV and Sporaltec are now working toward a pooling of their actions to offer businesses and research laboratories a more complete, transparent and responsive offer in the field of innovation and research as well as other levers of economic development. From June 2018, the joint structure is set take on the OSV name, and the staff will be raised to 15 people.

The association, launched in 2010, now counts 430 members, from small businesses to large multinationals, including 22 that are based outside of France. It has a staff of 13 people and an annual budget of €1.2 million. Among other initiatives, OSV hosts the Annecy Base Camp, which is considered as the largest business incubator in the outdoor industry in Europe.

Meanwhile, OSV moved on March 8 to brand-new headquarters in Annecy-Le-Vieux. The new head office, a 1,250-sqm, three-storey building, accommodates OSV's offices, a co-working space for the incubator, a prototyping workshop, and 20 offices to host start-ups such as Saola, which makes eco-friendly urban outdoor footwear, and Made Nature, a marketplace for ecological sports products.

The building also hosts the local offices of four well-established companies: Prism, To The Fit, Riot House and Rip Curl. It allows these larger companies to work within an ecosystem and remain close to innovative start-ups, while small companies can benefit from the knowledge and experience of the larger businesses, paying lower rental fees for the s.

The new headquarters have required an investment of €3 million, financed by the municipality of Greater Annecy, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the department of Haute-Savoie. It is located next to the Savoie-Mont-Blanc University and the Institut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT) of Annecy, with which OSV runs courses for a master's degree course in Sports & Outdoor Industry Management (SIM), a bachelor's degree in Performance Sports Textiles & Footwear (PSTF) and a bachelor's degree for International Sales Specialists in Sport (I3S). These courses were attended by more than 80 students in 2016/17. About half of those who attended the SIM course came from abroad. In addition, a bachelor-level course in Sports Design & Communications (SDC) was launched in September.