BEST program, bringing Italian startups to Silicon Valley

The U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission has recently announced the 2016-17 scholarships offered for the Fulbright BEST program, a fast-growing program that exposes Italian talents to Silicon...

Best program

The U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission has recently announced the 2016-17 scholarships offered for the Fulbright BEST program, a fast-growing program that exposes Italian talents to Silicon Valley culture and then sends them back to Italy to turn their innovative ideas and approaches into business ventures. Applicants have until March 30th, 2017 to apply to this prestigious program. You can learn all about this year’s Fulbright BEST program on the website of the organization.

Best program, from Italy to Silicon valley and back

The main target of the Best program is to provide to the Italian citizens, who can propose an innovative technology project, the opportunity to attend intensive courses in Entrepreneurship and Management at Santa Clara University, California. The training course also provides a period of internship in a Silicon Valley companies to acquire the necessary skills to launch and operate their own start-ups.

The building momentum for this impactful program is impressive. Supported by the Italian diplomatic service, Fulbright BEST program uses Silicon Valley as a lever for accelerating the growth of Italy’s software industry. The program is managed by the US-Italy Fulbright Commission, that also oversees the American-Italian exchange of Fulbright Scholars.

More than 30 startup created

In 7 editions held so far, 63 are the winners of the scholarship. The winners have created 37 hitech start up in Italy, a total of 9.5 million euro invoicing. More then 30 millions of euro has been invested by international investors in these start-ups, with a key contribution of US funds. Moreover, during the deep unemployment crisis that hit Italy, more than 320 jobs were created.

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Cosimo Palmisano

Some of these have grown into solid companies like Ecce Customer, founded by Cosimo Palmisano, who sold the company’s product to 30 multinationals after the American Axel Johnson Inc. fund invested 15 million dollars into the idea. Cosimo reflected, “had Fulbright not given me the opportunity in 2009 to participate to BEST Program and had Ecce’s business plan not been selected by Fernando Napolitano’s team, I would have never been able to turn my business idea into reality in Italy without the help of US investments. It really is the chance of a lifetime.”