Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mind the bridge (if you are Italian)

There is another initiative coming from Google these days. This one includes Italians. Actually, it is only meant for Italians (Google-Italy 1-1).

My friend Marco Marinucci has founded a non-profit, called Mind the Bridge. The goal is to stimulate Italian entrepreneurs to become global, maybe moving to the US, getting money in Silicon Valley and keeping R&D in Italy (sounds familiar...). The first step is a business plan competition.

In his own words:
The initiative is led by its founder, Marco Marinucci who acts as its executive director, defining the main directions of the organization. Marco (a Google executive in his day job) got inspired when involved in a business plan competition and mentoring project in Africa. Blown away by the radical impact such initiative played, he decided to replicate the model with the hope to have a similar impact in Italy, his own country. The executive director is supported by an Organizing Committee, whose role is to steer the direction of the initiative, defining the organizational details.

The organizing committee includes representatives from the relevant organizations endorsing the project.

The organizing committee defines the selection committee members and helps in the set up of the Silicon Valley road show for the finalists.

Mind the Bridge is a purely nonprofit initiative.

All the participating parties and collaborators share the same inspiring principles and participate on a purely volunteer basis. The initiative is meant as a call for action:
1. to spur more innovative ideas from Italian talents
2. to create the conditions we wished we could have enjoyed when in similar situations (with a good idea but lack of development options)
3. to share business contacts for the common good

We value open collaboration and transparency as crucial for the success of the initiative
Marco tried to involve me during a wonderful lunch at Google (tapas... man I would put 20 kilos on in two weeks, working at Google ;-) and I used all my skills to dodge the bullet. The initiative is absolutely great, but it requires a lot of time. I do not have it, unfortunately (yes, I have to write on this blog instead...).
* a unique opportunity to promote and develop Italian best new business ideas

* each selected project will be mentored by a successful serial entrepreneur

* The selected projects will Tour the Silicon Valley to showcase their idea to the investment community (venture capitalists, angel investors and corporations)
I am going to be in the selection committee (I could not say no to that...), so if you submit your business plan I might review it.

The deadline is DECEMBER 21, so move quickly. This is a fantastic opportunity to get your business idea reviewed by someone that has done it already. Worst case scenario: you get some feedback that will help you to better shape your idea. Best case scenario: you will get a mentor that will help you (believe me, mentors are what you need right now, and the list of people of First Generation Network that volunteered for the mentor post is phenomenal) and you will have the unique opportunity to present your idea in front of the right people in Silicon Valley. The weather is nice here, you know... Worth a trip. Even if your idea is not fully baked, send an exec summary. Do not miss this one, it could be the opportunity of a lifetime.

I admit it: I just want to see 100 little Funambols ;-)