Hi Alessio. You're a student and a startupper. Please introduce yourself briefly to our readership and tell us what brought you close to entrepreneurship.

I have a background in economics, with some knowledge in marketing and commercial processes, trade law and administration. Actually I’ve been interested in entrepreneurship since high school, and I’m currently working in a startup in the psychology field.


You're very young and yet you can count on various work experiences within both corporates and startups​. Do you think there is a value in approaching the job market or even the entrepreneurship context so soon?

I think that working on your own ideas and taking your own projects seriously can be seen as a positive point from the point of view of corporates. Also I believe creating a startup is the perfect way to improve your skills and even if you don’t have technical knowledge, you can rely on learning a lot, week by week, probably more than working in a structured job position. Moreover, if you are younger you can approach entrepreneurship easier. For example you could try to launch some e-commerce website for your own creations (shirts, drafts, video making), relying on a small budget and then trying to grow. Even if you might fail you will learn something that no one will teach you during school.


You did an extensive research on the food-farming context in Italy and Europe for your thesis. What were the most exciting breakthroughs you discovered?

Innovation in the agrifood sector is very particular: companies generally spend more attention and money on the commercialization of the product (marketing or product packaging) despite investing in launching new products on the market. The main reason is because it’s not easy to convince customers to taste a new product, especially in Italy where people pay much attention to food products they buy, so changing daily habits needs time and effort. Another observation can be done about the areas in which a company operates: sometimes new food products launched in a region can be unattractive while in another part of the world they might make it. Let’s just think about “Pepperoni pizza”. In US or UK is one of the most appreciated; while in Italy it’s a heresy. Also my study was focused on the connection between companies and other entities (public and universities): the main problem is that they don’t know how to communicate and cooperate with each other.


The European Union is promoting a series of initiatives to foster agriculture sustainability, research and bio-economy. What do you think is being done right? What do you think it could be improved? Food-farming in Italy is one of the most relevant industries. What do you this industry needs from our country to innovate and grow faster?

At a European level the importance of agribusiness is very relevant: the agricultural sector is the most supported with 3.851 billion euro in the food security sub-program. The main problem for Italian agriculture is related to the difficulty of reaching information and applying to grants. A possible solution could be a better communication spread, especially within the medium, like simple explanatory videos. Also organizing and promoting initiatives during events where people could meet each other, facilitating networking activities.


Thank you for your precious insights Alessio. We wish you good luck with your plans. Is there some specific advice you would like to leave young wannabe entrepreneurs that wants to enter the startup world?

Enjoy relationships. Every single contact could be an opportunity to learn. And always remember that your life satisfaction is not necessarily connected to money. Gaining money is the consequence of your work and passion you put in what you do: working in a startup you wouldn’t have to swipe your card to get to the office BUT you will need to focus 24h a day every day on your product/service. And if you do it in the right way, the results will come to you.

TWIST DIGITAL is the H2020 action, under the Startup Europe umbrella, that provides Transregional Web Innovative Services for Thriving Digital and Mobile to web entrepreneurs aiming at scaling up and competing in the global market around 4 interconnected web entrepreneurship startup ecosystems and hubs (Rome, Lille, Stockholm and Warsaw).
Startup Europe aims to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU. Startup Europe contributes to the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan.
Startup Europe's objectives are:
  • to reinforce the links between people, business and associations who build and scale up the startup ecosystem (e.g. the Web Investors Forum, the Accelerator Assembly, the Crowdfunding Network) 
  • to inspire entrepreneurs and provide role models (e.g. the Leaders Club and their Startup Manifesto, the Startup Europe Roadshow)
  • to celebrate new and innovative startups (with Tech All Stars and Europioneers), help them to expand their business (Startup Europe Partnership, ACE Acceleration Programme), and give them access to funding under Horizon 2020.