An innovation ecosystem set of initiatives aimed at support startups from their creation up to scale up, going through incubation, acceleration and recruitment
Foundation for Research and Innovation-FRI is involved in technological transfer and innovation processes, by means of multidisciplinary strategic projects focusing on strengthening synergies among Universities, Enterprises and Institutions.
The GP refers to a specific multilevel pathway to support companies, from their birth until maturity, in order to acquire/improve knowledge and develop communication strategies, effective business models and business plans and cement their relationships with the research field and the Universities with the support of Public Administrations and investors . The GP involves the following specific projects-programs:
- Impresa Campus Unifi (ICU), an early stage program for team building and idea generation , providing tutoring, coaching, mentoring and specific business training in a 4 months period.
- Project to support innovative startups belonging to the Florence metropolitan area, providing up to 5k for each company as mentoring and business services.
- Hubble acceleration program, an advanced acceleration program providing up to 50k, 100 hours of training along with tutoring, coaching and mentoring in a 5 months period.
- Faber project, a program to insert researchers within companies in order to open new strategic business areas.
Overall, companies answer to calls, are awarded with the aforementioned items and are daily assisted by tutors who foster all the processes, facilitating any kind of access (university, investors, enterpri

Resources needed

• Quadruple helix of innovation entities
• Collaboration model of public administration, business sector, universities, R&D, Trade Associations
• Multilevel pathway built on specific project/programs
• Access to scientific knowledge and researchers
• Private and public funds

Evidence of success

1 joint cooperation/project tackling policy instruments, 20 common network events, 3 formal agreements on future regional cooperation's between stakeholders.
More than 300 participants to the aforementioned programs with enhanced expertise. 40+ new hirings (Faber and Hubble). Local companies strengthening in terms of upgrade of supplied product/service range and market expansion. Employment rate increased in Florence area; companies contacts and networking expansion and easier access to funds.

Difficulties encountered

Understanding local needs to implement territory oriented projects; connecting stakeholders who generally have problem relating each other and promoting networking activities and projects creation; involving motivated companies within ecosystem initiatives; presence of innovation catalyst entities

Potential for learning or transfer

• Understanding firstly local needs when developing new projects
• Detailed analysis of local companies’ needs so to build functional projects
• Creation of network activities among different stakeholders in order to stimulate innovation processes
• Connection of different stakeholders to develop impacting initiatives and projects with subsequent benefits for the territory.
• Understanding the value of these initiatives, which means deep actions in the dissemination and explanation of the activities through local companies

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Main institution
Fondazione per la Ricerca e l'Innovazione
Toscana, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
January 2013
End Date


Chiara Guiggiani Please login to contact the author.