Domenico is co-founder and member of the Board of Directors at the software technology company Nextome. The start-up is based in Puglia, Italy. After years of research and development on its patented indoor positioning and navigation system, the company won multiple awards and international innovation challenges. Domenico was awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the European Commission. He has been actively involved in Apulian regional youth policy support actions, initially as recipient and now as Member of the Selection Board of the youth entrepreneurship support programme PIN – Pugliesi Innovativi. In the framework of the E-Cool Project, Domenico took part in the Brno Stakeholder Meeting as testimonial of “Young Innovators in Apulia”, the good practice on Public-Private Cooperation presented by Apulia Region.
Domenico, what would you say is the importance of public support measures for youth entrepreneurship?
They are essential measures. A company can have the skills, however, without investments it is difficult to emerge in a competitive and global market and public finances can be an initial stimulus to trying out one’s idea or to be able to further develop a new-born business.
Giving your own experience with different youth entrepreneurship support measures, both public and private, how would you say such measures are best implemented? What type of support is a young entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur primarily looking for?
I think that the best support for a young entrepreneur is the mentorship, you can raise money but without tips, you can fail more quickly.
Young entrepreneurs face many start-up obstacles and often need more support than the mere financing of an idea. What measures and/or soft skills do you think should always accompany a policy instrument that aims to facilitate/stimulate youth entrepreneurship (e.g. coaching, mentoring, grassroots approaches, …)?
We know the metrics of important accelerators in the world (like YCombinator), the best approach is a grant with a good mentorship support. If the team endures and achieves small goals it is a candidate to be a successful company.
To your knowledge, which are efficient approaches or measures for supporting youth entrepreneurship available in Apulia? Why would you say this/these measure(s) is/are efficient?
A support measure for young people’s business ideas is called "PIN – Pugliesi Innovativi". It is a program that finance the creation of micro-companies. With a technical prototype on the other hand, it is possible to apply the "TecnoNidi" program.
As part of the Young Entrepreneurs movement of Confindustria (note: organisation representing the manufacturing, construction, energy, transportation, ITC, tourism and services industries in Italy), how would you say youth entrepreneurship can be enhanced/supported through public-private cooperation?
I think that the best approach is greater cooperation, the public can allow startups to conduct free trials, this reduces risk and allows an entrepreneur with a small budget to test the product and then raise more capital.
Which are the main barriers that young people face to become entrepreneur?
We need to strengthen our ecosystem, young entrepreneurs mainly need trust from established institutions and businesses, the future is created on young people. Americans successfully adopt the "Give back" philosophy. Giving back as an entrepreneur is a rewarding experience both personally and professionally.