Turning an idea into an innovative business in three weeks, thanks to the support of the main experts of the most important universities and international technology companies, under the supervision of representatives of Venture Capitals and Investment Funds: this is the aim of the 600 people who will take part in EIA Turin 2017, the European Innovation Academy that will take place in the Polytechnic of Turin from 10th to 28th, for the second time in Italy.
In fact, thanks to an agreement signed between the Polytechnic and EIA, and to the engagement of the whole town and regional system, Turin is home to this StartUp Extreme Accelerator of high international prestige since 2016. EIA Turin 2017 has received the support by FCA and Intesa Sanpaolo and it has been warmly welcomed by the City, the University of Turin and by the world of companies, incubators and training, and with the special support by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts of Turin.
For twenty days, the areas of Lingotto and the Polytechnic of Turin will turn into a creative lab where young talented people from all over the world will have the opportunity to discuss new ideas. There will be engineers, marketing and economics students, coming from the most prestigious universities in the world, but also people who are already working in companies and want to seize the opportunity provided by the Academy in order to “speed up” innovation. EIA innovators will meet mentors and investors from the Silicon Valley and the regional and national territory: they are very important experts of the academic and entrepreneurial world who will make their experience available as an instrument to promote technology-based entrepreneurship. Some of the mentors are: Ravi Belani (Alchemist, Stanford University), Ken Singer (UC Berkeley), Martin Omander (Google), Danny Lange (Unity) and Klaus Busse (FCA).
The participants to the Academy come from the best universities in the world: UC Berkeley, Tsinghua University, UTC, Sorbonne Paris, University of Texas in Austin, and there are also 50 Turinese students coming from the Polytechnic and other students from the University of Turin, the University of Trento, Scuola di Alta Formazione al Management (SAFM) and IUSTO.
EIA will bring in Turin the methods that have been created in the Silicon Valley that turn ideas and technologies into start-ups, through mentoring activities and entrepreneurial tutoring. The participants, divided into small multidisciplinary groups, will have to develop a business starting from an original idea. During the first week, the innovators will identify the idea and the products, in the second one the basic product will be created, while in the third week there will be the market test that will verify the product’s attractiveness to consumers. The students will be supervised on a daily basis, and they will be supported by the experts in the field. In the morning there will be meetings with the mentors, while in the afternoon they will continue to work on their products.
The areas in which the participants will work on will be: mobility, food and design. These sectors are benchmarks of excellence of the Italian entrepreneurial culture, and those people will have to design projects related to these areas that will allow them to turn their ideas into a business. We tend to consider mobility, food and design as “traditional” sectors, but they have a lot of innovation to offer. The best ideas developed during the event will be financed by international Venture Capitalists and will be supported when they enter the market.
In addition, EIA is also an opportunity for businesses. Thanks to an agreement signed with the Chamber of Commerce of Turin, as part of the Alps Enterprise Europe Network, EIA Turin 2017 provides two opportunities to the Piedmontese businesses:
– the free participation for 50 managers of innovative businesses, with more than 6 years of activity, to a higher education day, the Executive Innovation Day, on 14th July
– the free access to 5 start-ups (each one with 3 participants) to three sessions as part of the Keynote Session programme
The response to these proposals by local businesses has been excellent: high quality businesses with their innovative and high-tech skills applied to different sectors (automotive, environment, chemistry, energy, aerospace, logistics, biometrics, data management, etc…) decided to take part in it. The businesses that have been admitted have been selected by the Chamber of Commerce and by EIA experts themselves on the basis of a number of criteria such as: rate of innovation, growth potential, possession of patents or very innovative high-tech products, propensity for internationalisation and awarding of European call for tenders.
Alar Kolk, EIA President, said: “Europe can grow only through innovation, it’s our duty to experiment with unique ideas to restructure our economies. EIA accelerator provides unprecedented opportunity to anyone who is willing to take the challenge to change the world and bring new products and services to global market in record 15 days. Make no mistake, it’s gonna be hard – many failures on road. The journey will test our brightest minds and willingness to build the future”.
Marco Gilli, the Dean of the Polytechnic, added that: “Being able to host in our campus such a prestigious event like the European Innovation Academy for the second time is a great opportunity to make our ability to offer innovation grow and to create businesses, giving a new dimension to the traditional way in which these issues are faced at university. We therefore believe that not only this is an excellent opportunity for our students, but it is also very positive for the whole regional system that makes Turin a prestigious international place for entrepreneurial development and technology transfer”.
“We are very happy to be partners on this project. Our Group has been pursuing an innovation-oriented path: multi-channels, digitalisation, big data, as well as the Innovation Centre created in Turin. We firmly believe that one of the ways of addressing the new global challenges is fostering a virtuous relationship between the academic world and the working world. It is necessary to create the right conditions so that the new generations can develop their ideas and provide their innovative skills to the market. For this reason, besides supporting this kind of projects, years ago we launched a programme that aims at fostering the creation of start-ups and supporting businesses in the exploration of technologies and new solutions”, said Enrico Bagnasco, Responsible for Information Systems at Intesa Sanpaolo.
“Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – explained Gilberto Ceresa, Responsible for Information & Communication Technologies of EMEA and LATAM regions of FCA – has decided to collaborate with the ‘European Innovation Academy 2017’ because we believe that the development of an innovative ecosystem (that the European Innovation Academy can encourage) is a great opportunity for the development of some competences and professionalisms the Automotive Industry needs. In particular, the development of the Mobility concept and the Industry 4.0 can encourage entrepreneurship and the development of new ideas and solutions”.
Vincenzo Ilotte, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Turin, added that: “As the Chamber of Commerce of Turin we take advantage of the EIA in Turin to provide real opportunities to our businesses. Compared to last year, we wanted to add one more thing: besides the free participation to the keynote sessions offered to 5 start-ups, for this European Innovation Academy we wanted to offer a new event dedicated to the existing businesses, with at least 6 years of activity, that are turning their innovative ideas into reality, and for this reason we created the Executive Innovation Day. Our aim is that these small and medium-sized businesses learn to innovate themselves as fast as start-ups do and that they speed up their growth on the international markets”.