FRC in Europe

I’m sure its similar in Mexico - but for reference, normal things at the market aren’t 5,9x price. Things that would be $1 at the market in the U.S. are generally like 1-2TL here at the market in Turkey, so the relative burden of buying things at like 6 times the price is insane (this is directed at my American readers - as I am an American, and I knew nothing of this insanity before leaving the country, my we have it easy in the U.S. with such a stable currency).

Registration being nearly 30.000TL is like, the amount of a year of college tuition at a really good private college here (public school is free). The average income in the wealthiest city in Turkey is like $7000-8000/yr. Just to put things in a little more perspective. a $100 motor or electronic board, while it may be kind of expensive in the U.S., is ridiculous outside of the U.S.

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Wow, reading through yours and @oscarfonloz thread has put a lot of things in perspective. I am currently trying to get the momentum to start a team in South Germany, so maybe I should talk to the Dutch and French teams, but what you two have said is incredible advice. Something else I ask, who was the person to first propose the idea? Was it a student, teacher, business, mentor, parent? or someone else?

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In the case of Turkey, it was that I, and later my sister went through team 360, my mother saw the value of the program, and decided to make it happen in Turkey. So I guess you could say it was a sponsor.

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Alright, that makes sense. Did you get a major company to help out also?

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No, not really. To this date our biggest sponsor is the arena, they only charge us for cleaning and security, no rent. CAT was helping the first couple years sponsor teams, 3M, Solidworks, and Dassault Systemes have given money for teams recently, and Deküp to the event, however none of them have yet reached anything close to the expenditures the foundation makes of its own money. We’re fortunate to be self funded by an apartment complex business in the Seattle Area - we operate on the profits of the company. All of our sponsors this year combined maybe equal 1/4-1/3 of what we put in ourselves. But we’re extremely grateful for what they do give, it is a lot, and it helps us extend the reach tremendously.

Edit: Our sponsors and supporters also connect us to a network that helps us out tremendously in non-monetary ways. That’s something worth mentioning. Non-monetary supporters are as important as monetary ones - for example - our relationship with the board of education(MEB) for the city of İstanbul has yielded so much for the program, but they’ve never given us 1 Kuruş. They’re a big part of why the program in Turkey is like 45% public schools, they help us bring in a ton of schools to the program, and ease our work with other governmental bodies.

Find non-monetary sponsors too who are willing to support the program and pave the way for its growth. For us it’s a mutual relationship with the MEB. They support us, and we make them look good. The last few events they joined (like fairs and stuff) they had us take part of the field and some teams, and that was how the Istanbul Board of Education was represented at some major fairs(Teknofest for example had like 550.000 attendees). They look good, they’re working on technology and bringing the youth into the 21st century, and we get a huge bump in awareness, especially among governmental bodies, whose help we need.

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I would like to recommend you to check out FRC 5883 Spice Gears from Poland. We were attending regionals in Turkey this year and China in 2018.
Here is our history:

All updates about our team are here:

Regards from Poland! :slight_smile:
Simon

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So it has come to my attention that FTC is also available through high school (a fact I was not previously aware of).

Is FTC bigger or smaller in Europe?

Might it be more worthwhile trying to start a German FTC team first, for the smaller budget and number of students?

So, does the difference in school sports and educational tracks in schools in Europe compared to the US (or other places FRC is) cause some of this, not having so many European teams?

In some areas of Europe FTC has a much larger coverage of teams/area than FRC does, in other areas the counts are about the same.

In Romania there are nearly 50 FTC teams while there are 0 FRC teams.
In Germany there are 7 FTC teams and 1 FRC team.
In Poland there are 10 FTC teams and 2 FRC teams.
In France there is 1 FTC team and 2 FRC teams.
In Italy there are 2 FTC teams and 0 FRC teams.
In the UK there are 3 FTC teams and 3 FRC teams.

FLL (and FLL Jr.) has a better exposure throughout Europe, even where FTC and FRC are nonexistent, because of the LEGO Corporation being headquartered in Denmark and their product having global recognition.

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In general FTC is bigger then FRC in Europe. You are missing The Netherlands in your list here.
We currently have ~30 FTC teams and 4 FRC teams here and are attempting to rapidly grow the FTC program to create a stable base for FRC as stated by Ron earlier in this post.

So to anser @orangeandblack5 's question: Yes, starting a FTC team in germany will be a lot easier. It is cheaper, there are more local competitions they can attent (2 in Germany, 1 in Italy and a league meet format here in The Netherlands where we have 6 smaller events and a championship). As an FRC team you will have to travel to Turkey, Israël or Amerika which is obviously a lot more expensive.

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School systems and extra curriculums do carry some weight but as stated by Ron earlier, money remains the biggest issue. Travel and shipping costs make FRC an very expensive program.
The new regionals in Turkey do create some oppertunities and we see that the program is growing in Europe as well but the costs are still very high.

I just recently met with Dean Kamen and other FIRST leaders in Washington DC when the Norwegian FRC team Hell Robotics 7239 (yes, there is actually a FRC team in Norway) were participating in SBPLI#1 and SBPLI#2 in New York. I told them about the big costs we have when we have to travel to US or Turkey to compete. I also mentioned the big shipping cost we have when ordering parts from the US. My main message to them was that if FRC is to grow in Europe, we need a regional in central/northern Europe and we need to be able to get cheaper spare parts. The judges at SBPLI#1 almost fainted when we mentioned our shipping costs… :slight_smile: And in 2018 we paid over EUR5000 to get the robot to the regional in Istanbul.

Dean Kamen told me that they were aware of these challenges and that they are currently working to get another regional in Europe. I think the teams, sponsors and supporters in Europe should organize and see what we can manage when we put our effort together. Maybe also put some “pressure” on FIRST to speed up the process. What about setting up a conference where we can meet and also invite FIRST officials? Has that been done before?

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According to wiki, there are 17 FRC teams from europe (not including Turkey).
I think that as soon as europe will have 24 teams, they can make a regional, from this moment the numbers of teams will raise realy fast and it will take only a few years until almost every big country in europe will have its own regional.
the real mission is to reach enough teams to make the first regional in europe, the rest will just snowball from there.

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Could we possibly setup a distribution center in Europe to cut down on ship time and costs, that way we can use slower but cheaper methods of moving cots parts in the off-season (probably by sea) and then use rapid shipping for the last few hundred miles at a lower overall cost.

You probably didn’t hear about it because in Michigan FIM doesn’t allow it. It’s be fine if that practice was universally adopted, but as it stands now it just means that Michigan’s FTC teams compete against high school seniors when they leave the state.

Who is “we”?

You are free to setup your own small business, retailing FRC-legal components to the European market. Set up the warehouse and ordering system and make supply deals with Vex/AM/etc to buy at wholesale and sell at retail, similar to Studica or TheRobotSpace or Ozzyboards or…etc. There are several companies that have done this.

I don’t think the existing suppliers want to deal with EU regulatory compliance in order to serve a market of 17 teams. For now they’re happier throwing parts in airmail boxes.

(I also don’t think you’d see huge logistics savings by going to sea shipment - at least not enough to pass on a measurable amount of savings to teams - until you got real volume at 100+ teams. The parts for 17 teams are probably not enough to fill even a 1/2 size sea container…)

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I hope that FRC in Europe grows, it would be cool to see what kind of talent is there and see more people from different backgrounds join.

I plan on trying to establish a communication inside of Erlangen, Germany when I will be there for three weeks in a school in the area (June 26-July 16). If anyone is interested in helping me spread FIRST in the area you can private message me. The plan currently is to establish a FRC team if it is financially possible, if not then an FTC team.

There is a German FRC team relatively close by, 3011 (from Wiesbaden if i’m not mistaken)

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Hi, just wondering where you got the information regarding teams as I would like to contact the teams in the UK if they are still active as I was unable to find any.
Also a more general FRC question - are FRC teams restricted to a team per school or do independent teams exist. In other words, would someone in a different school be allowed to join an existing FRC team - I would love to join one.
Thanks