Three years from its launch, Telecom Italia’s Working Capital project - conceived to support the best new technology-driven new business ventures - evolves into a domestic champion for Italian innovation.
Since 2009, Working Capital has received more than 2,500 business plans and innovative projects, becoming a true incubator for start-ups and raising the profile of forward-looking, web-driven entrepreneurship. Telecom Italia has provided assets and services to help establish thirteen start-ups, set up a further thirty-four projects, and provide funding for fifty-eight research projects. These new businesses include Italy’s first national university media network, a Web TV channel, an online high school and an electronic library.
Now, the project is set to become Italy’s largest innovation accelerator by building on and consolidating the portfolio of ideas generated over the last few years. Telecom Italia has earmarked an investment of €2.5 million per year over the next three years (2012-2014) and aims at attracting further public and private partners to the project to increase the availability of funding for start-ups considered the most promising.
As well as its funding operations, Working Capital Accelerator will provide competencies and mentorships to accelerate start-up time to market and growth, leveraging active input from qualified mentors who will provide advice on fine tuning proposals. The initiative also has the potential to foster the creation of partnerships and networks useful to start-up development and internationalization, in part through a partnership with the Kauffman Fellows Program.
Starting this year, thanks to direct support from the TIM brand, Working Capital has a new focus on the mobile web and mobile broadband.
“Telecom Italia has always kept its finger on the pulse of internet-related developments. Working Capital has made a tangible contribution to this process,” says Marco Patuano, COO of Telecom Italia. “Launched initially to stimulate and provide an outlet for web-related business ideas, leveraging Telecom Italia’s own resources and competencies, Working Capital is today growing from an explorer of the world of innovation into a true domestic accelerator.”
Patuano continues: “In addition to generating a portfolio that reflects Telecom Italia’s growth and innovation plans, Working Capital Accelerator will allow us to assert ourselves as the leader of a major innovation-led project for Italy.”
Rome, 9 March 2012