Telecom Italia and Comitato Italia 150 today presented their partnership aimed at celebrating the 150th anniversary of Italian unity and specifically the Tour of the Thousand, the initiative that throughout this year will look for and award the thousand most innovative projects developed by young university students and aspiring entrepreneurs in Italy. The event was attended by Telecom Italia CEO Franco Bernabè, Chairman of Comitato Italia 150 and Mayor of Turin Sergio Chiamparino, the Piedmont Region Councillor for Culture and member of Comitato Italia 150 Michele Coppola, the curator of the exhibition “Stazione Futuro. Qui si rifà l’Italia” Riccardo Luna, Chairman of PNI Cube Loris Nadotti, consultant to the Prime Minister’s Office for the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unity Paolo Peluffo.
The event was also attended by Linnea Passaler, the young entrepreneur who won last year’s Working Capital competition and testimonial for the new “Garibaldians”.
The concept of innovation permeates the partnership between the Telecom Italia Group and the Comitato Italia 150, mirroring the role that telecommunications have played in fostering unity-building in Italy. That of telecommunications remains a key industry, and Telecom Italia is still today a lead player in the digital development of the future.
As Comitato Italia 150’s technology partner, Telecom Italia has provided leading-edge solutions that draw on the web and the most advanced telecommunication technologies. Telecom Italia is also playing a major role in the exhibition curated by Riccardo Luna: “Stazione Futuro. Qui si rifà l’Italia”, which is being held at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni in Turin. The exhibition showcases a selection of Telecom Italia Lab home automation demos, and an exhibit that presents the next-generation LTE network deployed in the centre of Turin.
In addition, Telecom Italia is running a series of initiatives dedicated to the celebrations and innovation.
The first of these is Working Capital and the search for “New Thousand” talents, a pathway for gathering the best ideas to boost innovation in Italy, undertake research, foster business spirit and rewrite Italy’s future. The venture is a development of the Working Capital project launched two years ago by Telecom Italia to foster and support young entrepreneurs and leverage the net and new technologies. Working Capital received applications from more than 7,400 aspiring young entrepreneurs. Over 640 projects were submitted, of which 13 received funding; 29 scholarships were awarded, and 36 projects are at the pre-incubation stage.
Telecom Italia is running this initiative to find a “New Thousand” who will forge the Italy of the future in partnership with Comitato Italia 150, PNICube (the Piedmont Region’s National Prize for Innovation), and the Fondazione CRT. Wired Italia and Quantica are offering their communications and venture capital expertise to the project. The Thousand Roadshow starts in Turin on 18 March, before travelling throughout Italy to find the new heroes who, armed with business ideas, will pit their wits against one another at each roadshow venue until a final winner is proclaimed in Turin, at the site of Italy’s first parliament, during an event that will include the establishment of an “ideal” government by the country’s most promising digital natives.
Telecom Italia’s project Working Capital will see the collaboration of Intesa Sanpaolo with “Intesa Sanpaolo Start-Up Initiatve”, the first Italian platform to select, train and research potential investors for Start-Ups and Early Stage projects.
The company’s other innovation-led project, Italian Sessions, follows the template of the Telecom Italia Venice Sessions – a think tank community of thinkers and makers who have coalesced around future-building related topics and met a number of times over the last two years at Telecom Italia’s Future Centre in Venice.
The Italian Sessions, which run throughout this year’s celebrations, are designed to generate and guide a debate on the future that awaits Italy through five events held as part of the Stazione Futuro exhibition. Singer Lorenzo Cherubini, better known as Jovanotti, will be taking part at the first of these events.
Younger Italians also have a chance to help build the country’s future. The Navigare Sicuri bus is part of a project conceived to raise awareness among children, teenagers, parents and teachers about how to be internet-savvy and how to surf safely. In Turin, the bus provides a venue for young people to learn the rules they should follow in order to navigate the net while staying out of the clutches of digital pirates. Young people are also involved in Radio Dynamo (http://www.radiodynamo.it/), a web radio station put out by children who suffer from chronic and serious pathologies, in a project run jointly by the Dynamo Camp Onlus and Radio DeeJay.
Franco Bernabè says: “With its history and infrastructures, Telecom Italia has made a significant contribution to building Italian unity socially, economically and culturally. The company embodies the history of this process, driven by passion and courage, and is at the same time the leading promoter of the country’s future development. We are proud to play a prominent role in the celebrations for Italian Unity alongside the Comitato Italia 150. We are happy to contribute our know-how, investment and input through initiatives designed to stimulate innovation and the emergence of a new generation of talented young people who are ready to forge the new Italy. Young people are our future. We must invest in them, encourage them and reward their ability to break new ground and build new businesses.”
Sergio Chiamparino says: “Turin was Italy’s first capital. The town played a crucial role during the country’s process of unification, just as it has throughout the nation’s history. As well as looking back with pride on our and our nation’s past, the city of Turin and the Piedmont region are keen to continue to play a pre-eminent role in the changes and challenges that await us all. When we sat down to organize this major celebration of the 150th anniversary of Italian Unity, we decided not so much to offer a backwards-looking celebration as an event that, yes, reviews the events of the past, but that particularly looks forward to the future. The high-profile competition announced today is tangible proof of this approach. The competition has been conceived to reward our best hope for tomorrow, and foster elements of our society that it is vital we once more truly invest in: young people, research and talent.”
Michele Coppola says: “Celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unity in Turin and Piedmont will not be nostalgic: looking into the past, to our history and values means putting the basis to look to the country’s future. The new challenges have in the youth their main actors and talent, research and entrepreneurship are keywords for investments. For all these reasons the project developed with Telecom Italia translates the spirit of Italia 150 as it is conceived by the Piedmont Region: a picture of the country that we want, dynamic and competitive.”
Rome, 17 February 2011