The Impulse Network goal to create impulses for change within the sports industry traces to our very beginning. In 2017, our founder Clemens Kürten started the Sports Business Club initiative with precisely this mission. Within one year of the club existing at the University, we were officially accredited by the student union and HSG authorities, enabling us to transform vision into a tangible output. We began our journey with exclusive workshops at existent major players within the industry, such as Allianz, the International Olympic Committee, and FIFA.
Impulse Summit #1
However, our vision was not complete with the connection of the next generation to major European stakeholders in single-day events — we wanted more, and thus set a new goal for 2018: the hosting of an international conference at the University of St. Gallen with students and experts from all over the world. By October 2018, a team of friends had realised the inaugural edition of the Impulse Summit in the Weiterbildungszentrum Holzweid, which focused on the topic ‘#shapingtheshift’. The year 2018 brought many challenges, from event management to partnership negotiations, but can be viewed as the starting point for our annual conference as well as many lasting professional relationships. By the end of 2018, we had established a reputation as a major association at the University, and one that had just shown genuine results for its efforts.
First recruited team and move to Rorschach
In 2019, for the first time, we were able to recruit a team of 15 motivated students from different academic backgrounds and levels of study at the University of St. Gallen with the goal of surpassing our success of the first Summit. We opted for a new location outside of the city and held our second physical Impulse Summit with an increased budget and more international participants at the Würth Haus in Rorschach. From featuring a self-built bar on stage to testing unique formats that would come to be known as the Impulse Sessions, the year concentrated on professionalisation of the Impulse Summit.
Starting our third conference year, everything was set for another period of improvement and advancement, with a bigger team, bigger budget, and bigger goals. The year started with significant success, as we were able to onboard the Swiss Federal Institute for Sport (BASPO) as our co-organiser for 2020 and beyond. In addition, we achieved official non-profit organisation status from the Swiss tax authorities. However, in March the Covid-19 pandemic hit. We were forced to work from home and develop new visions for our Impulse Summit. As it became increasingly clear that no physical event would be possible in October, we overcame the challenges and were able to convert our efforts into a week of digital workshop sessions with a constant live viewership of over 100. Impulse Week 2020, under the motto ‘#changingperspectives’, was a success, but the Covid-19 pandemic showcased the fragility of both the sports industry and physical conferencing. Hence, we have set a content-based focus for our future efforts.