The Business Exchange and Student Training (BEST) programme "is a system that is extremely effective in both the creation of innovation and in giving space to young people and their ideas", according to Enel CEO Francesco Starace, who was speaking at the presentation of the initiative's communication campaign that took place on January 26 in Rome.
The 16 scholarships offered by the BEST programme give Italians under 35 years of age the chance to attend an entrepreneurship course in the Silicon Valley and an internship at a US-based start-up. The BEST programme is promoted by the Steering Committee and Invitalia together with the Fulbright Commission and the US Embassy in Italy, and rewards young researchers, economists and university graduates with new ideas in IT, biotech, tools and machinery, energy and green technology, art and design and fashion.
Enel is supporting the BEST programme by financing three scholarships, says Starace, "because we have an idea of the open innovation, and in order to realise that there is a need for a land populated by innovators that, even if they work in other sectors, can come and innovate in our industry. We have chosen the people on the basis of their skills and motivation, not according to their sector."
"Change your life, change Italy" is the slogan behind the 2015 edition of the programme, which has launched a communications campaign that Steering Committee president Fernando Napolitano explains is "dedicated to young Italians who will not be discouraged and work hard to fulfils their dreams".
The BEST programme is a winning bet. Past editions have led to the setting up of37 start-ups in Italy, which have been financed to the tune of €30 million by international investors and have created 320 jobs. "We've moved past the pioneering phase, and from here the project will be left in the expert hands of the Enel Foundation," continued Starace. "Those returning from the States will have a year of coaching that makes sure that the youngsters aren't left by themselves in difficult situations."