Opening #Wcap and the Call for Ideas

Yesterday 27th of March, in Rome, Working Capital Accelerator hosted the Opening #Wcap “Make In Italy” event. It was the occasion to talk about talent, passion for entrepreneurship and innovation with many interesting people.

Greetings were given by the #Wcap team, composed by Salvo Mizzi (Telecom Italia – Wcap), Gianluca Dettori (Wcap Milano), Antonio Puglisi (Wcap Bologna), Gianmarco Carnovale (Wcap Roma) and Antonio Perdichizzi (Wcap Catania), which presented the novelties of the 2014 #Wcap edition, including the Call for Ideas. In fact, from the 27th of March, the new edition of the Working Capital program opened, and 40 new Grants of the value of 25.000 Euros each will be soon assigned together with 40 acceleration missions.

The event was introduced by Pif, who appeared to be surprised to see that finally big enterprises are starting to get interested in the younger generations and their ideas. Later on, he discussed, together with Umberto Di Maggio, from Libera Sicilia (free Sicily), the innovation taking place in the South of Italy facing the obstacle of the Mafia. They concluded by saying that: “We can defeat the Mafia only by competing with it and winning market share”.

With Arianna Ciccone and Claudio Bedino, we spoke about the case of the “International journalism festival”, financed entirely through crowdfunding. This was possible thanks to the Starteed platform, a #Wcap startup. Salvo Mizzi stated that "#Wcap will also have its equity crowdfunding platform to use together with the Seed Investment Program by Telecom Italia".

The afternoon continued with the speech of Angelo Marcello Cardani (AGCOM), who noted how: “Italy is now characterized by a choking bureaucratic system“, and highlighting the fact that Italian talents and successful stories must be promoted. An example of talent that shall be known is Vincenzo Di Nicola, founder of GoPago, an E-payment startup recently sold to Amazon.

During the panel dedicated to Open Data in the Public Administration we saw the participation of: Francesco Luccicano (MIUR), Stefano Quintarelli (Chamber of Deputies), Sofia Maroudia (ActionAid Italia) Anna Masera (Chamber of Deputies), and Alessio Biancalana (C4i). The collaboration between Anna Masera and Alessio Biancalana gave birth to a new project that aims to launch a Barcamp and a Hackaton inside Montecitorio (Chamber of Deputies) to: ”Bring the hackers into the parliament, but only physically, not informatically”.

After, focus was given to young Italian talents through the Elevator Pitch of the best Working Capital startups. Marco De Rossi was the first to present his project Oilprojet, the online open source school, and its new website. Next where: Matteo Faggin (Gipstech), Antonino Famulari (PanPan), Lorenzo Di Ciaccio (Pedius) and Mario Vigentini, with MarioWay, the 2.0 generation wheelchair.

The next panel was committed to women startuppers, where the participants were: Tonia Maffeo (Spreaker), who spoke about how to educate women to digital usage and business, Enrica Arena (Orange Fiber), Federica Russillo (Ortomercato), Anna Maria Siccardi (Retedeldono), and Valeria Di Rosa (Tweetbook).

After presenting their startups, our Women Founders had the occasion to meet Laura Boldrini (President of the Chamber of Deputies) who expressed her support for the innovators; she believes that: “The country will rise up again only when it will be able to recognize its talents”.

The evening ended with a discussion between some of the most important Venture Capitalists of the Italian startup scene like Mauro Del Rio (Buongiorno), Andrea Di Camillo (P101), Alessandro Sordi (Nana Bianca), Luigi Capello (LVenture) and Domenico Arcuri (Invitalia), together with Government representatives such as: Stefano Firpo (MISE), Alessandro Fusacchia (MIUR), Paolo Coppola (Chamber of Deputies), and Irene Tinagli (Chamber of Deputies). The panel included thematics such as startups Visa, Business planning, and research in Italy.

Finally, Salvo Mizzi closed the #Wcap inaugural event by saying that: “Now it is time to put our ideas into practice and innovate”. In fact, from the 27th of March, the new edition of the Working Capital program opened; now candidate startuppers can submit their projects till the 9th of May in order to receive a Grant and participate to the acceleration programs available on our four locations.