In todays interview we had the pleasure to talk with Mrs. Silvia Braghini from AHK Italy. She is Project Manager for Market & Business Development in Milan and shares with us her thoughts about the Italian startup landscape and what part the AHK Italy is playing in this ecosystem.
Mrs. Braghini, what role is the AHK playing in Italy's startup scene?
The AHK Italy has been working on establishing its presence in the Italian Innovation ecosystem for several years by now. The partnership with some of the most influent Innovation facilitators and players across Italy, among all universities, accelerators, incubators, hubs, research centers and banks that support accelerator programs and invest on startups, gives the AHK Italy the possibility to experience the innovative pulse of Italy and in several occasions also to be part of it.
Given the strong pragmatical approach of our Chamber of Commerce our main goal in this context is to connect the world of industry with the innovative world and in this sense, we try to create concrete business opportunities for the Italian startups and to connect them with potential business partners, through different initiatives and partnerships, but mainly thanks to our own start-up contest “Business Meets Innovation”.
How are startups changing the economic landscape in Italy? Are there regional differences between the scenes from Milan to Campania?
The Italian economic system nowadays demands more and more to reinforce the collaboration between SMEs enterprises and big companies and to connect the world of research and development with the industry. A big part of the measures of PNRR, Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza (the NRRP, National Recovery and Resilience Plan) is dedicated to accomplishing these goals and one of the main drivers are startups.
In the past few years the concept of generating innovation through a Bottom-Up approach has been attracting many Italian companies and institutions and is allowing them to rethink their business models and their priorities for the future.
The main innovation areas in Italy can be found in the most industrialized and progressive regions of the country; the most significant areas are the following: Lombardy, particularly in the surroundings of Milan, Emilia Romagna, Piedmont, and Veneto. However, in the last years there has been a considerable increase of awareness of the startup ecosystems in the South of Italy, especially in the regions of Lazio, Campania, Tuscany, and Apulia. These regional ecosystems arise for the most part from renowned University Hubs (respectively Politecnico di Milano, Università di Bologna, Politecnico di Torino, Università degli Studi di Padova, Università degli Studi la Sapienza, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II and Politecnico di Bari) and are based on the research departments of the universities. They develop their expertise and are the basis for the creation of new business ideas and solutions. Beside that these regions and innovative centers are supported by some very solid incubators and accelerators, as Polihub and ComoNExt (Lombardy), Lazioinnova (Lazio), 012factory (Campania), Almacube (Emilia Romagna), i3p (Piedmont).
What makes Germany so attractive as a destination for Italian startups?
Given their expertise and approaches, as German-Italian Chamber of Commerce, we can say that the combination und exchange in between German and Italian companies are in practically any sector a pretty good match, or even better to say, they are often quite complementary.
In the innovative sector the Italian talents are attracted by the German economic system, due to its solidity, progressive commitment, dedication to research and development activities and pragmatic approach.
The only fact that Germany is divided into regional innovative Clusters, based on their focus field, makes it easier for the Italian startups to find their way around and creates a solid base of trust, in order to establish the Italian expertise in Germany.
What piece of advice would you give to your startups participating in the tour?
To our Italian participating startups, I would say that they have the important mission to show the German investors of the Ruhr region what drives Innovation in Italy and why it’s worth it to explore our ecosystem and to support it!
Moreover, I would recommend them to present a clear purpose of their solutions and a concrete business model, but yet to maintain the creative and flexible marks that characterize any Italian entrepreneur. This is definitely the key for our Italian startups to establish their presence and to succeed in Germany and worldwide.