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Comparing Start-Up Culture and Models at MIT

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On Sept. 18, MIT’s Sloan School of Management was the stage for a unique seminar comparing startup environments and strategies in Italy and the United States. Organized by the Italian Consulate General in Boston and Professionisti Italiani a Boston, the event was moderated by Corriere della Sera journalist Maria Teresa Cometto and saw numerous local and international leaders in the world of entrepreneurship discuss the different models the two countries present.

“Entrepreneurship is something you get better at with time,” said MIT Senior Lecturer Bill Aulet. Tim Rose, founder and CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center, highlighted the importance of universities as concentrators of talent, but posed emphasis on the importance of a collaborative post-graduate environment, while complimenting Italy for its comprehensive approach to venture capital legislation. Marco Cantamessa, a professor at the Politecnico di Torino, rounded up the first panel by describing the university’s incubator ecosystem, where entrepreneurs, investors and companies can work together.

The second panel saw the participation of Andrea Orioli, co-founder of Fluidmesh Networks and former CEO of Pantascene. “My parents wanted me to get a job in the bank,” he said, pointing out the cultural barriers still in place in Italy for entrepreneurs. The panel also included North Bridge co-founder Rich D’Amore, who emphasized the unique and dynamic environment in Boston (“Great people with great ideas in a great market.”), and Innogest founder Claudio Giuliano. The event was sponsored by Goodwin Procter LLP and Rollo Capital.

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