The Italian incubator model: it is not in step with Europe.

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The Italian entrepreneurial model is typically the fragmented one, made up of small companies that struggle to compete in the international context, commanded by giants.

Well, we are doing the same with the incubators, unfortunately demonstrating that we have not learned from our experiences.

Just a few months from the inauguration in France of Station f - the largest incubator in the world, a space of over 34 thousand square meters with the endowment of 10 billion euros invested by a Fund, which is located in Paris and is entirely dedicated to the development of start-ups  - in Italy our incubators are counting with performance that does not live up to expectations.

The reasons for the failure are multiple, but all linked to an essential reason: compared to just over 6,000 start-ups there are 37 certified incubators and about a hundred unapproved by the Mise but who still carry out the activity: too many and too individually little ones.

This fragmentation makes individual incubators unable to attract funds to incubated start-ups. In Italy two or three large incubators would be enough, able to attract the best ideas and enhance them, also through the convergence of capital. And so the economic results of the incubators are hard to come, with budgets in red for all activities. Only the university incubators are saved, which manage to be active.

The mortality of Italian start-ups is very high, and this depends not only on a lack of capital, but on the inability of existing incubators to attract the best ideas and support them in growth with appropriate services.

The Italian start-up market is thus unable to take off. The exit transactions are substantially still, as shown by the disappointing 2016 data, which show 20% less transactions worthy of note. Therefore, the incubators, which on their exit operations base their revenues, have to do something else, and offer consulting, education and open innovation services, in order to survive.

Perhaps Station F will be able to act as an example also for Italy, convincing operators to join together and create a single reality, able to attract the best ideas on one hand and to finalize the incubated businesses on the other. If this is not the case, Italy will be totally out of the European competition in the start-up and innovation market.


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