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EDC to promote sports performance industry with Netherlands

The initiative will include hosting a business delegation and soccer team in Manatee County in April 2021.

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  • | 5:22 p.m. October 26, 2020
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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BRADENTON — The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. has signed an agreement with Orange Sports Forum Foundation, the national body for sports and sports business development in The Netherlands, to host a business delegation and soccer team in Manatee County in April 2021.

More than a dozen sports-related businesses from The Netherlands are expected to participate, according to a press release. IMG Academy will provide training and competition venues and services for the visiting soccer team.

“This is an exciting step forward in our work to promote the Bradenton area’s sports performance industry and assets,” says Sharon Hillstrom, EDC president and CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to providing opportunities for businesses in Manatee County to engage with the visiting executives for mutual benefit.”

The initiative grew from relationships the EDC established during a trade mission to The Netherlands in 2019. The agreement with Orange Sports Forum envisions a long-term collaboration of trade exchanges and sports industry development between the European nation and the Bradenton area. In addition to the activities next April, the EDC is working to secure The Netherlands’ soccer World Cup training in 2026 and pre-training for the Olympics in 2028.

“This partnership offers a unique opportunity for Orange Sports Forum to serve our members with their challenges to enter the U.S. sports market," says Camil Smeulders, founder and board member of Orange Sports Forum, in a statement. "Florida, and the Bradenton Area specifically, is a true sports-minded environment and therefore the perfect place to share knowledge about sports, build partnerships in the field of sports, and a great location to establish a business.”

Orange Sports Forum is a foundation representing a network of 300 Dutch sports-related organizations. The goal of Orange Sports Forum is to promote Dutch sports-related organizations worldwide and support those organizations with exporting their products, knowledge and services. 


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