Nesta as an innovation move for Turin, Italy

A few months back we wrote about the ongoing negotiations between Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, and the [Italian Foundation] Compagnia di San Paolo to set up a Nesta Italia in Turin. These negotiations have now finished and the results were announced today in La Repubblica newspaper. Here is our translation:

“We want to make Turin one of the capitals of innovation, Nesta is the right move”
Mr. Profumo explains the landing of the English foundation in Turin

“We want to make Turin the southern Europe’s capital in social innovation and in social finance,” says Francesco Profumo, President of the Compagnia di San Paolo. The foundation had set this goal in its 2020 strategic guidelines and has now moved to action by bringing the Nesta Foundation to Turin. Nesta is a UK institution founded in 1998 thanks to the country’s lottery funds and specialised in innovative philanthropy. It will set up a twin (but independent) foundation called Nesta Italia, based in the Piedmont capital. Nesta Italia will be operational by this autumn and will work in close contact with the London offices.

“We will carry out several projects to address particular social issues. We will deal with art, education, health and the ageing of the population,” says Marco Zappalorto (pictured), future director of the new Turin foundation. During the last five years Nesta UK has carried out around 100 projects a year, leveraging an annual budget of about £30 million. For example, it has created a student challenge to invent a way to exploit satellite data to create benefits for society; it has launched a prize to develop new technologies that include disabled people; and it has helped ten hospitals to create volunteer teams, measuring the positive impact their use has on patients’ health.

Above all, Nesta’s strength lies in its ability to envision new support mechanisms: “Their reality is complementary to that of the Compagnia di San Paolo. We have thousands of projects each year, which we mostly handle in a traditional manner. They have different skill sets, which will help us improve,” says Profumo. Therefore, in the future, there will be less block grant contributions while other types of support will grow. For example, support might start with an initial contribution which can then be transformed into to a loan or an equity participation. Besidess, Profumo highlights, “Nesta Italia will be able to leverage an already well-developed Turin ecosystem that counts on realities such as Social Renaissance and Open Incet.” [Read more]

From blog Putting people first by experientia

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