Renewables, clean tech, smart cities: innovation heads southeast

Published on Friday, 10 June 2016

Combining a drive toward innovation and adventure, exploring ideas that go beyond familiar boundaries, aiming toward the East and taking on a journey just like Marco Polo’s. This time, instead of the great China, the journey will lead start-ups and Italian “start-uppers” to explore the opportunities offered by the biggest smart cities in South-East Asia.

Today, the City State of Singapore, located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, is the technological and financial capital of South-East Asia. This innovative urban and cultural fabric is constantly evolving, with great interest in attracting young innovative businesses, particularly in the ICT and digital sectors (and not only) and the mission to become the Asian Silicon Valley.

On November 21 and 22, the first edition of Italian Innovation Days will be held in Singapore, to meet the needs of the large Asian city and turn them into business opportunities. The initiative was presented in Rome as part of Workshop Eurasia 2016, the exhibition hosted by Unirete and dedicated to Unindustria’s B2B. The objective is to attract investments and promote the Italian system and the development of start-ups in Singapore’s economy, in order to drive business development in all the countries in the area, which are currently experiencing a period of rapid growth and stability, both at an economic and political level.

The initiative focuses on eight industry sectors, based on local market demand, and particularly on: Cleantech, Renewable Energy (Green Power), Smart Cities, ICT, Digital and Fin-Tech; in other words, digital applications and IT for the financial and banking sector, as well as aerospace and medical technology (MedTech).

The project, which was coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Country Directorate) and supported by Enel, was jointly sponsored by the Ita/Ice Agency, Italian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, Cnr, Confindustria Sistemi Innovativi (Innovative Systems), Unioncamere, Unioncamere Lazio, Unindustria, and will be promoted in collaboration with the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Manufacturer Association.

When it comes to innovation and development opportunities in new geographical areas, our Group is always ready to embrace initiatives to explore new possibilities and horizons. “Singapore – explained Luciano Tommasi Head of Start-Up Initiatives and Business Incubator at Enel – is one of the most innovative ecosystems in the world and Enel has decided to explore it in order to identify new technological and business trends and turn them into real opportunities for the Group. Our goal is to create a “network of networks”, connecting the areas in which innovation moves faster, as well as the people and companies that drive innovation”.

“New business models are rapidly forming, making it difficult to benefit from the advantages of a location. Therefore – he concluded – we decided to become promoters of change, developing and nurturing an increasingly open innovability platform, creating a natural synergy between ‘Innovation’ and ‘Sustainability’. This creates opportunities that give both us and our partners a competitive edge”.

During the presentation, Nicola Lener, the Foreign Ministry’s Directorate-General for the promotion of the country, emphasised that the initiative aims to develop synergy between public and private organisations and promote investment opportunities, particularly for Italian start-ups, in a country with which Italy has excellent relations and where companies can count on the support of ICE facilities, as well as the embassy and the Chamber of Commerce.

Italian Innovation Days, said Francesco Marcolini, Head of Asia Desk at Unioncamere Lazio, aims “to promote industrial, commercial and financial relations, as well as research between Italy, China and South-East Asia, while attracting capital through direct venture capital funds, sovereign wealth funds, private equity funds and companies interested in investing in the Italian market”. It also aims to establish commercial or industrial partnerships with companies, research centres and accelerators for the development of joint actions in Asia, and promote the creation of international networks for both research and the application of technological innovations.

During the two-day event in Singapore, companies and start-ups will have the opportunity to present innovative projects (products or processes) to investors and industrial partners from both Asian countries (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and China. They will also have the chance to explore issues and opportunities during private meetings.

Participation in the Italian Innovation Days is free (travel, accommodation and meal packages will be offered at subsidized costs). Start-ups and companies interested in taking on the challenge offered by Singapore can send a request to participate by Friday, July 29, by filling out a form and sending it to the email address: