BEST is a programme designed to train the Corporate Innovation Leaders of tomorrow. Supported by the BEST Steering Committee and Invitalia, the National Agency for Inward Investment and Economic Development, in collaboration with the Fulbright Commission, the Business Exchange and Student Training programme offers Italian under 35s with innovative business ideas a six-month training experience in Silicon Valley to help turn their idea into reality.
Five of the nine winners of the study grants for the US gathered on 1st July at the headquarters of Invitalia in Rome for the “BEST, Coming Back to Italy” conference which was also attended by all the initiative’s partners, including Enel. Invitalia’s Incentives and Innovation Director Ernesto Somma chaired the conference, which was addressed by Enel CEO Francesco Starace, Invitalia CEO Domenico Arcuri, Italian Business & Investment Initiative CEO Fernando Napolitano, RDS General Manager Massimiliano Montefusco, LVenture Group CEO and founder of LUISS EnLabs Luigi Capello, and Massimo Lapucci, Secretary General of the CRT Foundation.
The new graduates selected will be given the opportunity to attend Open Innovation courses at San Francisco’s Mind the Bridge school, do an internship at a startup and meet with the American investor community. All vital stages in developing business skills to provide the innovators of tomorrow with the tools they need to get their own hi-tech startups off the ground.
“This programme has gone from strength to strength with each new edition: looking back, we have come a long way and the young people that took part in the BEST programme really have made their mark. At Enel, we see innovation as a value in its own right that deserves to be professionalised,” explained Starace who, speaking directly to the young people about to leave for the US, added: “You shouldn’t spend this time in Silicon Valley coming up with ideas different to the ones you already have. Instead you should learn to transition them from the world of ideas to the real world.”
To date, the BEST programme has helped over 100 talented young Italians to make their innovative dream come true by attracting investment from American funds interested in Italian startups. This opportunity has produced a slew of hi-tech startups in the energy, pharmaceutical, mechatronics and robotics sectors. “The new innovators can count on the fact that we will be the first to celebrate their innovations even if they are not related to energy. Just as long as they manage to create awareness around them that ideas need to become reality,” concluded Starace as he wished these talented young people success as they embark on their adventures in the world of business.