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Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta 2021: the competition for tomorrow's entrepreneurs is now open!

Applications are open for the new edition of the contest for innovative business ideas and projects, aimed to stimulate entrepreneurship and economic growth

Promoting the birth of innovative startups in crucial sectors such as Life Sciences, ICT, Cleantech & Energy, Industrial, Tourism and Cultural and Creative Industries. With this aim, Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta, the Italian competition between innovative business projects promoted by I3P, Innovative Business Incubator of the Polytechnic University of Turin, 2i3T, Business Incubator of the University of Turin, and Enne3, Business Incubator of the Polo di Innovazione of Novara, is back for its 17th edition. Organized as part of the Italian National Award for Innovation (PNI) promoted by PNICube, Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta is divided into two stages, the Competition of Ideas (Stage I) and the Business Plan Competition (Stage II), and to date has involved over 6,600 aspiring entrepreneurs, divided into teams, which over the years have submitted a total of over 3,300 business ideas and 1,600 business plans. The total prize money of over 1,200,000 euros has supported the creation of over 150 companies, which today employ over 1,300 people.

"Start Cup Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta aims to support the birth of innovative and knowledge-intensive startups in the territory," explained the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta organizing committee. "Year after year, the initiative contributes to spreading the culture of innovation, concretely showing the importance of a network made up of universities, university incubators, startups and other players in the innovation ecosystem for the development of an economy based on knowledge and scientific and technological skills. In this historical moment, we believe it is even more important to give a strong signal of restart through the support of innovative projects that can generate economic development and positive impacts for the community."

Elena Chiorino, Councillor for Education, Employment, Vocational Training and Right to University Study of the Piedmont Region, said: "The Region firmly believes in the value of innovative startups, especially at a particular time like the one we are experiencing: the innovative entrepreneurial fabric that is born within the university incubators is more than ever the result of young talents who deserve to be supported and encouraged. This is an important stimulus for all of us and for a territory that has historically always invested in human capital and in the entrepreneurial ability to engage in new businesses and markets".

"Initiatives such as this one, with the dissemination of the culture of innovation and local development, with the aim of encouraging and supporting the emergence of innovative and knowledge-intensive startups, serve to promote the economic development of the Piedmont region," said Andrea Tronzano, Councillor for Budget and Finance and Development of Productive Activities of the Piedmont Region. "Thanks also to the synergy with the regional university incubators I3P of the Polytechnic of Turin, 2i3T of the University of Turin, Enne3 of the University of Eastern Piedmont and Pépinière of Aosta we can say that from actions like this presented really passes our future. Believing in and promoting these projects is not only a stimulus but also a sensible planning for the future".

To support the launch of the new edition of Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta, there is also its completely renewed website, with a new digital application platform designed to offer a better user experience. The competition will also be accompanied by a new key visual that has as its protagonist a "thinking head", ideally representing the mind of the young entrepreneur of tomorrow from which a multitude of technological objects emerge that recall the five categories of the Start Cup (Life Sciences, ICT, Cleantech & Energy, Industrial, Tourism and Cultural and Creative Industries) to which it will be possible to apply with ideas and projects.

Stage I and Stage II: modalities and timing

Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta opens with Stage I, the "Competition of Ideas", which rewards the best business ideas in services, free support and advice provided by the Business Incubators, aimed at the drafting of the Business Plan. To apply there is time until July 5th, 2021, by filling out the application on the official website of the competition. 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 July 6 and will give access to the final selection and prizes. It is open to everyone, even if they were not included in the first selection and even if they did not present an idea in Phase I. To participate in Phase II of the competition, the Business Plan Competition, it is necessary to submit a Business Plan describing an entrepreneurial project no later than September 1st.

You can participate in one or both stages, free of charge, by submitting a business idea or a business project that, regardless of the stage of development, are the result of the work of an individual or a group of individuals and aimed at the creation of an innovative startup.

All aspiring entrepreneurs of age, university and research center students (undergraduate, graduate, PhD or PhD students, research fellows, professors) and owners of newly started companies can participate, individually or in groups. During the online application process, in both phases, applicants will have to identify a reference incubator, choosing it among the business incubators of the Promoting Institutions (I3P, 2i3T, Enne3 or Pèpiniéres d'Entreprises of Aosta or Pont Saint Martin in case of application for the Valle d'Aosta Award).

To be admitted to the competition are business ideas and projects that refer to the categories of competition: 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 to the improvement of 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 Cultural and Creative Industry.

The prizes of the XVII edition

By mid-November, the best startup projects participating in the Business Plan Competition (Stage II) will be announced. They will receive cash prizes and special mentions, awarded with the support of a Jury composed of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business angels. Thanks to the endowment made available by the Promoters and Supporters of the 2021 edition, as well as the support of the Piedmont Region through the European Social Fund, this year the total prize money rises to over 50,000 euros and will be provided in cash and services.

The first prize will be of 10,000 euros, the second of 7,500, the third of 5,000. The first six projects will also be awarded the prize of 1,000 euros each for entry to PNI 2021, the Italian National Award for Innovation also unofficially known as the "cup of champions" between the winning business projects of the various regional Start Cups, that will take place at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" at the end of November 2021.

As in the previous editions of the initiative, there will be special prizes promoted by Sponsors interested in contributing concretely to the development of innovation: the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta, aimed at entrepreneurial development in the territory, assigns the Valle d'Aosta Prize of 7,500 euros to the best Business Plan that sets up the company in the Pèpiniéres d'Entreprises of Aosta or Pont Saint Martin; Fondazione CRC, attentive to interventions aimed at competitiveness and sustainable development, assigns the Cuneo Prize of 7. 500 € to the best Business Plan that sets up the company in the Province of Cuneo; Jacobacci & Partners, a company of reference in the Italian panorama and one of the main European realities in the field of intellectual property protection, will assign to the best Business Plan with intellectual property features a prize of the indicative value of 10,000 €, provided in the form of consulting services in the field of protection of trademarks and patents for a period of 6 months from the date of the award ceremony.

There will also be four special mentions: "Covid-19", addressed to the best project that offers solutions in case of health crises determined by the spread of a virus epidemic through innovative products or services intended for the protection of human health, prevention, emergency management, data and information, economic recovery and strengthening of the health system; "Open Innovation / Industrial Spin Off", dedicated to the best project concerning innovative products and/or services deriving from a Research activity conducted in collaboration between a company and a University of 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 collaborations.

Also confirmed is the participation to the initiative and the support to the organization of Start Cup of the other Sponsors: UniCredit, attentive to cooperation relationships to support innovative startups; LINKS Foundation, research center that develops latest generation technologies, interested in promoting technological and economic growth, increasing the competitiveness of the ecosystem and enhancing intellectual property; Fondazione Michelin Sviluppo, aimed at promoting the socio-economic development of the territory and the creation of jobs.

For more information and to download the full regulations of the competition, please visit the "How to apply" page.

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