When you think of Italy, the first things that pop up in your mind are food, fashion and design. However, the country is also home for various technology startups and scaleups. According to Andrea Conti, business developer at EIT Digital, it is also a great country to expand to.
Conti explains on behalf of the EIT Digital Accelerator the five tips to take into account when catapulting your company in Italy.
#1 Make sure the time is right
“You might have the smartest idea, the best go-to-market approach and good funding behind you to launch your product in the market. However, you have to make sure to evaluate the right time to launch your technology. In Italy, unlike Silicon Valley, the concept of ‘fail fast and restart’ is not yet completely part of the entrepreneurial culture. Founding a startup and having failed is still a bad mark in your experience.”
#2 Trento is a hub for startups
“One of the perfect places to start up your business in Italy is Trento, the capital city of the Trentino province. It is a perfect city for deep tech scaleups to find success, as it has seen tremendous IT growth in the recent past. Trento has developed swiftly when it comes to modern tech and has become the startup hub of Italy. That is also why the city hosts the Italian Node Co-location Center of EIT Digital.”
“Apart from Trento which has the highest number of startups per square kilometre, the second-best place to set up your scaleup and find the right accelerator or human resources is Milan. In this city, we also have a satellite office, hosted by our partner CEFRIEL.”
“Moreover, I have to mention our partner the Polytechnic University of Milan and the accelerator Polihub, which has been listed among the three best university linked incubators worldwide.”
“Further, interesting accelerators are also growing in regions like Veneto and also southern Italy; organisations like H-Farm are helping farm tech companies to scaleup in these areas. However, currently, the northern part of Italy is the best part to do business, if you’re in deep tech.”
#3 Dress code depends on the counterpart
“Wearing suits is part of our culture. In fact, it is part of our culture to wear nice clothes. All the big designer brands like Armani, Valentino and so on, are Italian. If you’re a male or female, planning to meet – let’s say – a purchase department director, you have to be extremely formal dressed. Men preferably wear a tie, when meeting a decision maker. But if you plan a meeting with a techie, you can dress in a mix of casual and formal attire.”
#4 CEOs should have two kinds of business cards
“In business, it is typically Italian to have business cards without phone numbers on them. Instead, writing down the mobile number manually gives exclusivity to the person you give the card to. Hence, I suggest CEO’s to have two types of business cards. One for general use and the other set for exclusive business people they meet.”
#5 Italian coffee and building soft contact
“A meeting in Italy starts with a good cup of Italian coffee. It is recommended to open the meeting with a conversation about non-business life, like about your kids, your last weekend experiences and more. If you manage to scout the interests of your counterpart, it could establish a good connection. Investing in a good relationship could be extremely useful for doing business here. If, for example, you like going to the stadium to watch your favourite football team, and you know that your business partner likes the same one, it could be an opportunity to arrange a meeting on a matchday.”
So, if you’re looking to launch your deep tech scaleup in Italy, you have to make sure to take notice of the above tips carefully, including the right dress code, intelligent communication and a visionary market approach. When done right, the homeland of designer clothes and great food is yours for the taking.