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Will startups be the future of Italy?

An event held at Milan's Bocconi University that brings together students, startups, accelerators, entrepreneurs, investors and institutions tries to answer

Will startups be the future of Italy?

Nathania Zevi

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Will startups be Italy's future or will this be one more train the country is going to miss?

This is the question several interlocutors, all of them linked to the world of enterprise, investments and venture capital, will try to answer next Thursday, Nov. 15, during the meeting "Creation of startups and internationalization: examples of success and real opportunities," that will take place at the Luigi Bocconi University of Milan. A symbolic place, which, besides a concrete economic reality, highlights how those under 35 are by now - in several sectors -  key actors of the only possible change.

The conference will tackle the issues connected to the path that a startup has to follow in Italy, from its project conception to its "arrival" abroad, especially when it lands in the US market for a larger capitalization.

In this context, the "Italian Business & Investment Initiative Youth" will also be presented, a project that is the real extension of " Italian Business & Investment Initiative" and should be considered the last ring of a Venture community composed of students, researchers, sturtuppers and young professionals.

In fact not everybody knows that nowadays the existing die in Italy allows all "innovators" to get the necessary expertise "to set up an enterprise" through projects and opportunities offered by Mind the Bridge and Fullbright Best, that spot the best Italian brains and teach them how to set up and manage a startup abroad. Moreover they are also able to help the newly born companies "accelerate" once they are back in Italy, thanks to financing backed by funds and banks.

Once established, a startup can then be selected by investment companies and international operators, which besides reinvigorating it, enable them to be acquired by other companies or to be launched into the US market.

"In Italy, nowadays, there is everything that is needed to be entrepreneurs and establish startups, there are no excuses. We are ready and equipped to follow young people from the idea to the exit strategy on the market" Chairman and CEO of IBII Ferdinando Napolitano explains.

A thesis also shared by Marco Credendino, the counterpart of Napolitano at the Youth section of the same initiative.

"Italy is far behind other countries with regard to startups, above all, as far as their internationalization is concerned. There are ideas and talents, but too often it is not clear how to operate, and which is the best way to obtain financing. Many times what lacks is the know how to create a firm, even a small one. Expertise and contacts are crucial to a new established company in order for it to become known to investors and therefore to grow," he says.

"For this purpose, linking innovation chain operators to young people and vice versa is essential, which is what we intend to do on the occasion of the event at the Bocconi University," Credendino adds.

In fact, representatives of the startup and investment world will attend the meeting, such as Claudio Giuliano of Innogest Capital and Cosimo Palmisano of Ecce Inc., as well as Enel CFO Luigi Ferraris (Enel has just launched a project aimed at accelerating startups linked to energy in order to acquire them at a later time,) Gino Nicolais, President of CNR (Italian National Research Council,) Elizabeth Robinsons, member of the Steering Committee of Fullbright Best and US Consul General Kyle R. Scott.

The continuous interaction among Venture community members, public and private institutions, companies and financial institutes, with the necessity for both "innovators" and investors to put themselves to the test and take a chance, will be at the centre of a debate that will try to overcome the traditional negative idea of bankruptcy in start up phase and to hinder a new and possible "entrepreneurial revolution."

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