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Prysmian Group PNI Cube

Over 3,000 young entrepreneurs compete for Italy’s National Innovation Award

Prysmian Group joins sponsors of the 2019 National Innovation Award (PNI) given to best start up business plan from a university incubator.


Each year, universities and their affiliated incubators across Italy organize a regional competition for the best business plan for a university research spinoff. At the end of the year, the best ideas in four categories at national level each win a €25,000 prize. Prysmian took part in the jury this year and has joined the prize’s sponsors, to support innovation.

An innovation prize backed by 47 universities across Italy

 

Innovative companies like Prysmian Group must increasingly look outside their walls for new ideas. Gone are the days when innovation took place only “in house.” That’s why Prysmian has collaborations with nearly 50 research institutions around the world. 

We are embracing an ‘open innovation’ approach,” says Srini Siripurapu, Chief R&D Officer at Prysmian Group.  “It was a natural step therefore for Prysmian to support Italy’s National Innovation Prize (PNI) in 2019 for the first time,” continued Mr. Siripurapu.

The prize, now in its seventeenth edition, is Italy’s largest business plan competition, carried out by 47 universities across Italy with their affiliated incubators.

This year saw over 3,000 young entrepreneurs compete with nearly 1,000 business ideas and 400 business plans. Each of the four main winners received €25,000 in prize money.

This event is an opportunity for Prysmian to gain exposure to a reservoir of innovative ideas and high-potential entrepreneurial projects, capable of creating possible new collaborations from expertise in areas that are perimetric, but synergic to our usual business,” said Luca De Rai, Director of Energy R&D at Prysmian.

This year the four PNI’s selected categories were Cleantech & Energy, Industrial, ICT and Life Science and Prysmian took part in the juries for the first two categories. Each category included 15 or 16 finalists from regional StartCups competitions across Italy. Jurors picked the four best startup ideas in each category after examining submissions and meeting with each single team to find out more about the technical aspects of their proposals.

Each category produces a winner. Of the four each year, one is picked for the PNI prize for best startup overall. This year’s PNI winner was Specto, a Lombardy-based biomedical startup that has created a new diagnostic tool. Several other startups won smaller prizes assigned to special categories. The total value of prizes awarded along the whole competition came to €1.5 million, of which €500,000 in cash and the rest in the form of services from sponsors and the prize’s participating incubators and universities for participating startups and finalists.

The prize is organized by PNICube, the Italian Association of University Incubators, which was founded in 2003 with the goal of simulating the spin off of ideas from university research and launching them on the market. PNICube has 50 members including universities and academic incubators, and organizes 17 regional StartCups all across Italy that act as a funnel for the final prize. This year’s prize ceremony was organized at the University of Catania on November 29.

Numbers of the event

47

Number of universities and incubators participating

€1.5million

Total value of prizes awarded each year

€25,000

Cash prize for each winner in four categories

3,000

young entrepreneurs competing with new ideas