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Launch of the “Italy4Innovation” series #i4i



Launch of the “Italy4Innovation” series #i4i

The opening event of a new series, Italy4Innovation (i4i), was held yesterday at the Embassy of Italy in London. The series is an initiative by the ambassador, Raffaele Trombetta, and will focus on innovation in Italy and the UK. The speakers were Stefano Firpo, the director general for industrial policy, competitiveness and SMEs at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, and Sharon Ellis, the director of international science and innovation at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The moderator was Courtney Fingar, the editor-in-chief of the Financial Times Group’s magazine fDi.

The event was organised in collaboration with the London branch of the Italian Trade Agency and focused on innovation in businesses and start-ups.

In his opening address, the ambassador highlighted the enormous potential that exists for closer collaboration between the UK and Italy in the sector of innovation. He explained that the i4i initiative aims to create contacts between innovative start-ups in the two countries as well as to compare the countries’ models for development and regulation, in order to learn about and emulate best practices on regulations, support schemes, tax and other incentives to stimulate development and growth, models for incubators and accelerators, etc. The interest on the Italian side is primarily to present particularly innovative projects that are likely to be of interest to London-based investors.

Stefano Firpo pointed out that Italy is among the main contributors to the European space programme and a global leader in certain key sectors, such as instrumental robotics, thanks in part to its vibrant manufacturing sector. He said that Italy will continue its mission to attract talent and improve access to credit for innovative start-ups and for upscaling.

Sharon Ellis said that the UK government has launched a £7.5bn programme to boost innovation, in order to support more efficient and more direct exchanges between business and academia, facilitate research and development, and encourage innovation in all sectors. She noted the importance of European research programmes and the UK’s ambition to continue to participate in them after Brexit. She added that the decisions by Apple and Microsoft to invest in Naples and Milan to open new operational headquarters is a clear sign that Italy is heading in the right direction to attract the great multinationals of innovation.

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