Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta, now in its 18th edition and promoted by the incubators I3P, Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, 2i3T, Business Incubator of the University of Turin, and Enne3, Incubator of Eastern Piedmont, is back with the aim of creating innovative start-ups.
Organised within the framework of the PNI - Italian National Award for Innovation promoted by PNICube, Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta is divided as always into two stages, the Ideas Competition (Stage I) and the Business Plan Competition (Stage II), and to date has involved over 7,000 aspiring entrepreneurs divided into teams that over the years have presented a total of over 3,450 business ideas and 1,750 business plans. The total prize money of over EUR 1.3 million has supported the creation of over 160 companies that now employ over 1,300 people.
"We are proud to be able to launch the 18th edition of the Start Cup, which once again this year sees the collaboration of institutions in our region, research organisations and players from the industrial and financial world, who share the centrality of innovation and new entrepreneurship as fundamental levers of development. Thanks to the support of the Piedmont Region through ESF funds and the promoters, this edition has been enriched with special prizes dedicated to technological themes and sectors, from the space economy to city sustainability, which represent important growth axes for the regional economic system. We are confident that the entrepreneurial proposals of this eighteenth edition will confirm the positive trend of growth in volume and quality that we have recorded in recent editions", comments the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta organising committee.
"Eighteenth edition of an initiative that is very useful for the development of our region, the numbers alone are enough to identify its importance: 160 companies created thanks to the incubators that have employed more than 1,300 people over the years," commented Andrea Tronzano, Councillor for Development of Productive Activities, Piedmont Region. "Not to mention the three thousand business ideas that have been presented, a veritable melting pot of opportunities that is a symptom of a living fabric of proposals and ideas for drawing the lines of development of our time. We were talking about this in the past few days at the meeting with the regional councillors for productive economic activities. In order to look to the future with hope, we must start from certain principles that must be the shared common heritage: enterprise culture as the identifying feature of our nation and entrepreneurs as the true leading resource. It is therefore clear that a path that leads to the creation, thanks to the invaluable support of universities, of new generations of entrepreneurs can only be of great support to the Region's policies".
"For the 12th year, the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta is offering its special prize at the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta. Supporting the birth of innovative start-ups with high professional skills and strong growth potential is part of our territory's economic development strategy," comments Luigi Bertschy, Regional Councillor for Economic Development, Training and Labour, Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta. "Our Pépinières d'Entreprises are ready to support and assist the company that wins our award. For this competition, I hope for a broad participation and a significant contribution of innovative ideas that can help start up new enterprises in our territory".
Stage I and Stage II: modalities and timing
The Start Cup competition is divided into two stages. Stage I, the "Competition of Ideas", rewards the best business ideas with services, free support activities and consultancy provided by Business Incubators, aimed at drawing up a Business Plan. To apply, there is time until 20 June, by filling in the application on the official competition website www.startcup-piemonte-vda.it. The teams that present the best business ideas and pass the selection phase will be contacted directly by the Incubators to start consulting services.
Stage II, the Business Plan Competition, will start on 21 June 2022 and end on 27 July, giving access to the final selection and prizes. It is open to all, even if they did not make the first selection and even if they did not submit an idea to Stage I. To participate in this stage, it is necessary to submit a business plan describing an entrepreneurial project via www.startcup-piemonte-vda.it.
You can participate in one or both phases, free of charge, by submitting a business idea or a business project that, regardless of its stage of development, is the work of an individual or a group of individuals and aimed at the creation of an innovative start-up.
All aspiring entrepreneurs over the age of 18 from universities and research centres (university students, graduates, PhD or PhD research students, research fellows or fellows, structured professors) and owners of companies that have just started up may participate, individually or in groups. During the online application process, in both Phases, applicants will have to identify a reference incubator, choosing it from among the business incubators of the Promoting Entities (I3P, 2i3T, Enne3 or Pèpiniéres d'Entreprises of Aosta or Pont Saint Martin in the case of applications for the Aosta Valley Award).
To be admitted to the competition are business ideas and projects that refer to the competition categories:
- Life Sciences, for innovative products and/or services to improve people's health;
- ICT, i.e. innovative products and/or services in the field of information technology and new media, such as e-commerce, social media, mobile, gaming, etc.;
- Cleantech & Energy, oriented towards improving environmental sustainability, environmental protection, energy management;
- Industrial, i.e. innovative projects or products from the point of view of technology or market designed for industrial production;
- Tourism and the Cultural and Creative Industry.
The awards of the 18th edition
By mid-November 2022, the best start-up projects participating in the Business Plan Competition (Phase II) will be announced, which will receive cash prizes and special mentions, awarded with the support of a Jury made up of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business angels. Thanks to the endowment made available by the Promoters and Supporters of the 2022 edition, as well as the support of the Piedmont Region through the European Social Fund, this year's total prize money will rise to over 60,000 euros and will be disbursed in cash and services.
The first prize winner will receive €10,000, the second prize €7,500 and the third prize €5,000. The first six projects will also be awarded a prize of €1,000 each for entering the PNI 2022, the Italian National Innovation Award, the 'cup of champions' among the winning business projects of the regional Start Cups that will be held in L'Aquila this year, organised by Start Cup Abruzzo and the University of L'Aquila.
As always, there will be no shortage of special prizes, promoted by sponsors interested in contributing concretely to the development of innovation:
- Regione Autonoma Valle d'Aosta, attentive to entrepreneurial development in the territory, will award the Valle d'Aosta Prize of 7,500 euro to the best Business Plan setting up the company in the Pèpiniére d'Entreprises of Aosta or Pont Saint Martin;
- Fondazione CRC, attentive to interventions aimed at competitiveness and sustainable development, will give the Cuneo Prize of 7,500 euros to the best Business Plan that sets up the company in the Province of Cuneo;
- Jacobacci & Partners, a benchmark company on the Italian scene and one of Europe's leading companies in the field of intellectual property protection, will award two prizes worth a total of 7,000 euros to the two best Business Plans, in the form of services;
- Distretto Aerospaziale Piemonte, an association that aims to boost the aerospace sector - by collaborating with all players in the sector and also through the creation of projects for the dissemination of innovation - will award the Space Economy Prize of EUR 7,500 to the best project based on space technologies;
- LINKS Foundation, a research centre interested in fostering technological and economic growth, increasing the competitiveness of the ecosystem and enhancing intellectual property, will award the Technology for Sustainability Prize, worth a total of €7,500 (€4,000 in cash and €3,500 in services) to the best project with an impact on sustainability;
- Unicredit Start Lab Prize, offered by the Unicredit group - which is interested in supporting innovative start-ups in the company's life stages with specific actions - will finally consist of a mentorship session to assess the suitability of a project to be admitted to the Start Lab programme's targeted content.
There will also be five special mentions:
- "Covid-19", aimed at the best project offering solutions in the event of a health crisis caused by the spread of a virus epidemic through innovative products or services designed to protect human health, prevention, emergency management, data and information, economic recovery and the strengthening of the health system;
- "Open innovation / Industrial Spin Off", dedicated to the best project concerning innovative products and/or services resulting from a research activity conducted in collaboration between a company and a university in Piedmont;
- "Equal Opportunities", for the best project aimed at promoting the principle of equal opportunities and female entrepreneurship;
- "Social Innovation", for the best project involving the development and implementation of new ideas to meet social needs, create new relationships or partnerships;
- "Climate Change", for the best project proposing innovative solutions related to climate, biodiversity, energy, mobility, economy and technology to combat climate change.
Also confirmed is the participation in the initiative and the support for the Start Cup organisation of the other sponsors: the City of Turin and Fondazione Michelin Sviluppo, aimed at fostering the socio-economic development of the area and job creation.