The impact of Milan being Italy’s largest hubs for innovation and technology has definitely helped expand the growing ecosystem, becoming the best place to find potential clients, investors and like-minded founders.
In fact, when it comes to innovation, technology, design and business in Italy, Milan is the place to be. The whole Lombardy region is surrounded by some of the best companies, hubs and is an attraction to local but also foreign talent. Over the past 5 years, Milan has been undergoing major changes, with a Silicon Valley mindset and an international culture, partially thanks to its strategic location at the heart of Europe, the Brexit and the economic crisis from which Milan is slowly but surely healing.
The startup ecosystem has seen a continuous growth since hosting the universal Expo in 2015: a new-wave of talented entrepreneurs and investors are supporting in shaping a new mindset to help shift from traditional to innovative, from physical to seamless integration of physical and digital, to IOT…
Lots of events, mainly talks, workshops, competitions and conferences are taking place, in English and in Italian to cover all topics and satisfy all needs and tastes, from design, leadership, business, social innovation, tourism, design, tech and startups, across all sectors.
Just like in all corners of the world, the word ‘startup’ is a buzz and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but the foundation to help aspiring entrepreneurs commence their journey is not completely there yet.
It takes years to educate, try and learn, experience ups and downs to shift from an experiment to a culture. One way to accelerate this is attending events, continuous learning and networking.
The other way is hands by joining a curriculum that has been meant to serve this purpose, such as the Founder Institute, the worlds’ largest pre-seed accelerator, entrepreneurial training and startup launch program that helps aspiring founders build enduring technology companies. It started in Silicon Valley and expanded over the world with chapters in over 200 cities, 60 countries, 9,000 mentors, 2,500 graduate companies and a 2 billion dollar estimated portfolio.
The Founder Institute is the new kid on the block in Italy, with two chapters set to start in Milan and Rome. But where does it sits in the ecosystem? Let’s go through the entrepreneurial journey which can be divided in 4 major steps:
- The inspiration phase where aspiring entrepreneurs get inspired to learn the startup basics through a wide range of events, competitions and hackathons, such as Startup Weekend or Startup Grind.
- The launch phase which is the commencement journey for aspiring entrepreneurs where they validate an idea, create a strategy, incorporate a company, and experience what it takes to launch.
- The acceleration or incubation phase where a startup gets accelerated/ incubated, expands an idea, builds a strategy, prepares a pitch deck, business model, acquires traction to prepare for angel/VC funding, such as YCombinator, Techstars, H-Farm, PoliHub, ImpactHub, NuvoLab to name a few
- The angel/VC phase where fast-growth startups raise capital from professional investors through connections, platforms and various networks, with actors like Gust, Blackrock, 500, SiamoSoci, P101, Angelist, ScaleITThe Founder Institute sits in the launch phase, and its core value proposition lies in the fact that it’s here to support the next phases, backed by this urge to innovate created during the inspiration phase.
It is set to become a turning point in the ecosystem by providing guidance and support to early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs. It will be held once a week, during which mentors, successful CEO’s and entrepreneurs share their experiences and provide founders with tips and knowledge linked to the curriculum provided by FI HQ.
The fact that it will be taking place in the evenings allows employees with a full-time job willing to kickstart a new venture, students, early stage startups and aspiring founders to join, providing them with a structure training, mentor support, and global network needed to start an enduring company over 14 weeks, where they will through the whole journey of launching a company, from idea to incorporation.
There are plenty of free and paid workshops everywhere, including Milan. This is not what the Founder Institute offers. It is an extremely rigorous, real-world program for talented people that are motivated, open to honest and critical feedback, and ready to perform the hard work needed to build an enduring company. In fact, less than 30% of accepted Founders are typically able to make it to Graduation. Here’s what Adeo Ressi, CEO of the Founder Institute, has to say: ‘The Founder Institute is hard, because starting an enduring company is much, much harder’
To know more, the first launching event is taking place on March 8th at Spazio Innovazione.
Milan is slowly becoming part of the European startup scene, according to the Startup Heat map. Italy has talent that needs to be retained in the country, and the efforts provided by high profile figures and companies to uncover future talent is proof of concept.
Contributor: Maria Matloub, Founder Institute Milan Chapter Director