A talk with FabriQ, incubator for social innovation of the City of Milan

by | Feb 13, 2017

Our journey discovering the protagonists of Blast event continues: today we introduce FabriQ, the incubator for social innovation of the City of Milan. We are very glad to present this company through this chat with Antonio Dell’Atti, Project Manager of FabriQ. What does he expect from BLAST event? “We expect to find new startups that can collaborate with us for promoting themselves for upscaling their activities – Antonio explained to us – but also to find international partners to work with for launch new projects”

Let’s go reading to understand better mission and way to operate of FabriQ, that he defines “a matching platform between demand and supplier innovation”.

Can you explain us more about this definition?

FabriQ was born in 2013 and it’s managed by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini. As a social innovation incubator, our mission is to support startups having a social impact and promoting our projects which have an impact on the citizens and on the territory of Milan and also on a larger scale. The idea of FabriQ is to be a center which supports people with an idea especially focused on a social dimension, no matter what’s the issue of the competence of the idea. Moreover, we also create a fertile environment with associations, companies and main stakeholders for producing an impact for the community where we are based. In that way, we are also a platform not only for a technological innovation for the support of startups but also for social innovation coming from the bottom.

Can you talk about the results you achieved in these years?

For what concerns the startups, FabriQ has supported through incubation and acceleration program about 40 startups, that had come into FabriQ trough a public bid managed by the City of Milan and ourselves. Out of this 40 startups, most of them have been able to raise over 4 million Euros of investments from venture capital funds and other kind of investors, they have been able to create over 70 job places with their economic activities and been able – we are very proud of this – to win a lot of awards either national and international as Marzotto Awards, European Venture Summit, Unicredit Start Lab Intesa Award and so on. For what concerns the results and achievement of our social innovation project, I’m very happy to mention the Training Program that we launched in the school here in Quarto Oggiaro, in the periphery of Milano where we are based, specifically focused on social entrepreneurship, which had been able to supports dozens of students  in creating and developing a real social business idea and others territorial projects focused on mobility for not self-sufficient people.

Why did you choose Milan? What is your relationship with this city?

First of all, Milan is one the top city for the innovation ecosystem in Italy. It’s a city that decided to invest in startups and innovation through several projects both territorial based like FabriQ and more specific activities such as awards, call for proposals and competitions. But there are also other kinds of administrative advantages for startups and innovation organizations. In our specific case, the case of Fondazione Brodolini who I represent, the trigger that made us decide to come here was the public bid for the management of FabriQ, which was launched in 2013 by the City of Milan and specifically by the directorate of innovation and label market that we decided to participate for the management of this place, which is 600 mq of a former library. It’s a huge center that municipality of Milan decided to renovate and to give a new mission. Is a place, as I said before, for supporting a social innovation project. So the main reasons why we are in Milan is FabriQ!

Are you in contact with international hubs?

We are very happy to work with an international actors, also given the nature of the true organization management of FabriQ. I said before that our main partner was Impact Hub Milan, which is the Milanese branch of an international network which is called Impact Hub, which has over 100 hubs all over the world and which are in contact with FabriQ as well. Also Fondazione Brodolini has a very international and not only European dimension which results in partnership and connection to incubators all around the world, who we call “International Call for Proposal”, like one that we have promoted a few months ago on Agriculture and Food. So yes, we have international connections.

What is the relationship between you and Fondazione Brodolini?

FabriQ is managed by Fondazione Brodolini, it’s one of the two co-managing organizations of FabriQ, together with Impact Hub of Milan, and we are there because, as I said before, we won a public bid which allowed us to manage FabriQ for other 5 years, until the beginning of 2021

What about your future goals?

Our goal is to continue to support with our work further startups. We will launch at the beginning of February a new “call for proposal” for supporting about seven startups with a full incubation programs of about 6/9 months and a grant of about 20/25 K, but also to launch new territorial projects with the stakeholders we are in contact with, for producing a real impact on the citizens.

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