20 Italian female hi-tech entrepreneurs benefit from Israeli training

‘It was really useful to have meetings with mentors having real international experience’

For Italian hi-tech talents, the boot camp helped to ensure they are able to present their firms to a global audience. In the picture, Ematik, a unique patch made from the patient’s own blood made by Promethus. (photo credit: Courtesy)
For Italian hi-tech talents, the boot camp helped to ensure they are able to present their firms to a global audience. In the picture, Ematik, a unique patch made from the patient’s own blood made by Promethus.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The skills and attitude that made Israel the Start-Up Nation will, hopefully, help twenty Italian female entrepreneurs break any glass ceilings they might encounter on their way to making their companies into a global success.  
Selected by The UniCredit Start Lab, participants attend a three-day virtual “boot camp” arranged by TrekFounders CEO Yossi Dan and other people of note in the Israeli business ecosystem. Among them are Cecile Blilious, head of impact and sustainability at Pitango Venture Capital and Inna Braverman, one of the most powerful women in the 21st Century, according to MSN.com.  
Half of the women are creating Biotech solutions, seven are focusing on digital hi-tech and three on clean technology, Dan told The Jerusalem Post.  
“UniCredit wanted to give these women a chance to work outside the Italian comfort zone, so to speak, and give them the tools they need to operate in a global market,” he explained.
UniCredit is an Italian banking and financial services company operating in 17 countries and 50 world markets. Its Start Lab has offered its support to 350 new companies in the seven years it has been running.   
Dan explained that European participants were encouraged to interrupt the Israeli speakers whenever they have questions, since Israelis regard such lack of questioning as evidence that the lectures aren’t interesting. “While Italians and Israelis are similar in some aspects,” he said, “Italians wait with questions until the end unless they are encouraged to break that habit.”  
Francesco Giordano, Co-CEO of Commercial Banking Western Europe at UniCredit, said that the boot camp is an example of the company’s core values, among them equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion. He lauded the role of innovation as a growth engine. 
With COVID-19 impacting the global economy and the surge in ideologies that are populist and, at times, extremely nationalistic, the path technology will take remains hidden.  
While many point to ag-tech and remote medicine as sectors that will feed and heal the world, others warn that social-media algorithms and non-stop streaming dumb down society and allegedly “steal” elections.  
For Dan, the conflict is between the safe borders the state offers and the fact that technology has no borders.  
“DURING THE novel coronavirus pandemic, people were not able to travel,” explained Brandon Group CEO Ilaria Tiezzi, “but products were not affected. People could not go to libraries so online book orders went up; these books were delivered on time.” In the two years she led the company, the business volume increased from $6.2 million to over $40 m. expected by the end of the year.   
Brandon Group is an e-commerce company that simplifies online sales for its clients. For example, it offers a client in the UK to sell in 35 countries and 50 markets thanks to its innovative real-time platform.
“We offer clients data on where they could sell in the world and what items would do best,” she points out. “We ensure that their digital catalog is optimal to each specific market.” This means that a German online shopper, for example, will see what he needs, while a client elsewhere will see a different selection by the same company.  
“We also have an entire logistical support team that enables us to deliver even small orders effectively,” Tiezzi explains. “Logistics are essential to e-commerce, and not all companies are able to follow all the changes and regulations in that field.”  
She has visited Israel many times and has friends who reside here. Thanks to the boot camp, she claims to now have a deeper understanding of how Israeli values come into play in the world of business. 
“Israelis are always looking outside their market because of their geography,” she pointed out, “something the French, for example, aren’t so big on doing. I am grateful to the organizers for giving us this chance to create a network of mutually beneficial relations.”   
Promethus co-founder Valentina Menozzi was able to offer the world a different sort of technology: Ematik, a unique patch made from the patient’s own blood to heal wounds.  
“We extract active molecules from the patient’s blood and combine that with biodegradable materials that are absorbed into the skin, without scars,” she told the Post. The entire process, from the moment the blood sample is collected to when the 3-D printing machine delivers the patch, takes 40 minutes. 
For her, the boot camp helped with ensuring she is able to present her company to a global audience. "It was really useful to have meetings with mentors with a real international experience," she said.     
“Technology isn’t bad nor is it good,” Dan says. “What counts is what we do with it.”