Innovative start-ups, Marras: “A structured public policy is needed to encourage them”

Creation of new innovative youth businesses and dissemination of professional, managerial and entrepreneurial orientation skills. This was also discussed on the first day of Cyberdays, today and tomorrow in Prato, at the Center for 5G skills and innovative technologies.

During the round table entitled ‘The experiences and activities of the IKIGAI Toscana program and the Prisma project for entrepreneurial and professional acceleration’, the councilor for economic development Leonardo Marras spoke on the IKIGAI Toscana pilot project. Already active for some years in Siena and conceived by the MPS Foundation, the Region, thanks to the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Foundation itself, has decided to collaborate on its development to extend it to the entire regional territory and identify common initiatives to support and establish innovative start-ups.

“As a first experiment – ​​said Marras – I would say it was successful. Starting in Siena from an initiative of the MPS Foundation, it has spread to the entire region, taking inspiration from the fact that the public policy approach to innovative start-ups needs to be very complex. We are working on financial instruments to assist the birth and development of these realities, with IKIGAI we have managed in a certain sense to anticipate all this by accompanying the teams in the phase preceding the establishment of a business. The first ten selected teams are following a path towards the creation of an innovative company, accompanied and guided in this by experts and mentors who provide suggestions, skills and proposals. I believe this – he concluded – is the first step towards the launch of a structured regional policy on the matter, aware that the number of innovative start-ups is lower than the needs of our economic fabric”.

There were 33 applications submitted during the opening of the call for proposals (from 24 October to 5 December 2023) (5 of which came from other regions). Twenty-two came from entities not established as businesses, 7 from youth/female MSMEs established less than 12 months ago and 4 other businesses. Over half concerned initiatives linked to digital services (development of web platforms, digital applications, software development, etc.) linked to very diversified fields (from catering to architectural design, nursing services, etc.).

The technical commission subsequently identified a short list of 19 projects to be evaluated in more depth, inviting the proposers to make a presentation during an organized day at the 5G and innovative technologies skills centre. At the end of this phase, a ranking was compiled of the ten applications admitted to the program which lasts 15 weeks. All those admitted received financial support (up to 6 thousand euros) and participated in workshops and meetings with experts (mentors, investors and specialists). IKIGAI is currently underway and will end in mid-April with a final three-day initiative during which all participants will meet to fine-tune their proposals and for a final discussion between companies and the professionals involved.