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Italy Restarts Up.
A two-day event to draw the attention of foreign investors to Italian startups and local ecosystems, participation in competitions and exhibitions with dedicated spaces for startups, training schemes and many other projects for 2015: these are just some of the initiatives planned by ICE (the Italian Trade Promotion Agency) to encourage the internationalisation of research and promote innovative companies.
Although Italian research centres and inventive businesses achieve levels of excellence in many areas, there is a general consensus that they do not have a sufficient presence abroad at the stage of marketing their services and products.
Many observers agree on this point, underlining the need for more robust and sustained support, but also for a more direct operational link between the two subjects: research centres and businesses. By this means, supply chains can be strengthened or created, and then presented as such to foreign interlocutors.
To this end, the Italian government and the European Commission have put in place a number of initiatives. These included the announcement in 2012 by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Scientific Research with regard to the country’s technology clusters: a statement which repeatedly cited the greater internationalisation of participants as a strategic objective. ICE has been active in this very context, working with two of the constituent clusters (Agri-Food and Life Sciences), and is planning a series of initiatives for 2015 with its institutional and business counterparts.
Meanwhile, ICE is setting up three innovation desks, which will be active by the end of 2014, at its offices in Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Mumbai. These desks constitute an operating platform which should prove invaluable for projects and businesses involved in these three very promising markets, both in terms of fundraising and of promotion. They will therefore welcome not only requests for services and support, but also any proposals with regard to collaboration and the co-financing of their work.
The other important influence on the activities of ICE can be found in Legislative Decree 179/2012, entitled "Further urgent measures for the growth of the country". In Article 30, it requests the Agency to carry out promotional activities and services, and to grant particularly favourable treatment, in both these areas, in order to support those innovative startups entered in the appropriate section of the Companies’ Register.
In this context, ICE has carried out a series of promotional activities abroad over the last year, enabling the free participation of numerous innovative Italian startups in events such as: "Webit" in Istanbul, "Mobile World Congress" in Barcelona, "Global Entrepreneurship Congress" in Moscow, "Cebit" in Hanover, "Bio Europe" in Vienna, "Bio" in San Diego, "Pioneers" in Vienna, "ECCM16" in Seville, "Game Europe" in Paris and "Game USA" in San Francisco.
In order to implement the terms of the abovementioned legislation, which require ICE to promote an encounter between innovative startups and potential investors during the stages of raising early stage capital and expansion capital, ICE is collaborating with the Ministry of Economic Development to organise an important matchmaking event, involving startup companies and Italian investors on the one hand, and foreign investors on the other. This event, "Italia Restarts Up", is due to be held in Milan on December 9th, and will be followed by visits to local ecosystems on December 10th.
The occasion will be formally opened by the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, and the President of ICE, Riccardo Maria Monti, and will be attended by over 50 venture capitalists from 24 foreign countries, and 68 Italian startup businesses.