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INCUBATOR ACADEMY MODEL FOR GREEN ECONOMY AS PEER LEARNING ACTION FOR INNOVATION AGENCIES

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I AM GREEN (INCUBATOR ACADEMY MODEL FOR GREEN ECONOMY AS PEER LEARNING ACTION FOR INNOVATION AGENCIES)

Reporting period: 2021-02-01 to 2022-01-31

The overall objective of the I AM GREEN project is to co-design a widespread incubator and start-up academy model aiming to support entrepreneurs in all steps to take from the business idea design to market penetration, passing through a tailor-made training and incubation path that gives special attention to sustainable development and ways to “greening” the business.
The project aims to contribute to the qualitative improvement of services offered to start-ups thanks to an integrated approach that guides entrepreneurs along all steps of the entrepreneurial path with a special focus on training and financial needs. The general objective is to offer a more fertile environment for new business ideas birth and growth, as well as creating new business opportunities leveraging on potentialities to greening processes, supporting their development at EU level and acting as a real driver for innovation and sustainable growth for Europe. This will be done by improving the support that is available to them, functioning as a think-tank that identifies their needs and prepares new directions within start-up creation support as well as available training and consulting services.
At the end of March 2021, the 1st Twinning Meeting was held in the form of co-design workshop. Results coming from a scenario and customer segmentation analysis, carried out the months before, provided inputs to the tw#1 agenda. The discussion held in tw#1 fed the chapters 1 and 2 of the DOP where the analysis of the potential customers (i.e. I AM GREEN project targets) and the value proposition is inserted. Meanwhile the project website was launched and social media set. Results of the first 2 chapters of the DOP have been summarised in the policy brief n.1. From June 2021, there was the preparatory work for the second twinning meeting: analysis of existing training/mentoring opportunities for start-up founders and other supporting services. Desk research on effective training methodologies. Discussion with relevant local actors and clustering with INNOSUP 200SME Challenge and Innochallenge projects, coordinated by HUB Innovazione Trentino (who participated also to the second twinning meeting and presented the projects). The tw#2 was held in July. Several topics relevant for the DOP were discussed such as best practices on start-up launch supporting services, how investors value green motives, green aspects of entrepreneur support, filtering, environmental impacts of start-ups. Preliminary work and tw#2 results fed chapters 3 and 4 of the DOP. Results have been summarised in policy brief n.2.
In November 2020, the Third twinning meeting was organised to discuss and co-design a possible Business Model Canvas for I AM GREEN. Different stakeholders participated to the twinning meeting enlarging the pool of stakeholders engaged during the project. In tw#2 we made a Clustering action with the Interreg project INCUBA to analyse a model of cross-border incubator (Italy-Greece). Results of the tw#3 fed chapters 5 and 6 of the DOP. Their results are summarised in policy brief n.3.
The Final conference was held on the 27th of January 2022, presentation of the DOP to the general public and market actors of Emilia-Romagna, Ireland and Israel. 22 participants to the Final Conference. The event has been recorded and made available online.
The project has been disseminated through different channels. First of all, the project website, that so far has been visited by 200+ visitors. Since the beginning a LinkedIn page. The page is followed by 574 people. Communication actions (e.g. weekly posting on social media) helped us reaching around 3000 people.
The three involved innovation agencies, as described in the chapter 6 of the DOP, took the opportunity to improve their services including results from I AM GREEN.
The Value Proposition of the I AM GREEN model has been described as the implementation of an Incubator Academy Model that includes synergies between different actors (start-ups, investors, companies, innovation agencies, research bodies and academia) offering matchmaking services and a point where demand (of technologies, innovative skills, finance) and offer meet. For start-ups mentoring and training services should be implemented in order to accompany them in the growth process and fill their skills gap.
The human capital of the founding team is crucial in the early stages of a company lifecycle and is the main factor on which investors choose to invest in a start-up instead of another.
Empowering start-up teams may be, then, a key element of an incubation or acceleration programme and it is important to understand how to support companies in developing the skills they need to succeed.
To develop the right entrepreneurial mindset, action planning is pivotal. Action planning makes more likely that entrepreneurs who have a goal initiate and start working on it. Self-efficacy (namely the individual’s confidence in her or his capabilities to accomplish tasks) is another point that make success of a start-up more likely. Self-efficacy influences the initial choice of activities, the goal level, the commitment, the effort and the persistence.
We can state that three main groups of skill-set should be developed to be a successful entrepreneur:
1. Entrepreneurship skills, that includes soft and transversal skills such as self-efficacy;
2. Managerial skills, including business and finance;
3. Technical skills.
At the end of the I AM GREEN project, six main recommendations emerged:
1. Strengthening the ecosystem
2. Rationalisation and promotion of various initiatives, through a well-structured value chain supporting the start-up ecosystem, but also by aggregating all information about support measures and policies
3. Incubators are important, but so are accelerators.
4. Customisation of policies, as start-ups have different needs.
5. Entrepreneurial culture must be reinforced.
6. Reinforce internationalisation and focus on digital and green transition
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Results factsheet 1/2
Results factsheet 2/2