30 May 2017

Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, planning to embark in Turin, Italy

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Today the print edition of the Italian newspaper Repubblica published an article with the title Nesta, i campioni dell’innovazione puntano su Torino. Below is the English translation (with English-language links added by us):

Nesta, the champions of innovation, point to Turin
The UK Foundation is negotiating with the [Italian Foundation] Compagnia di San Paolo. Social development will be the main focus.
by Mariachiara Giacosa and Stefano Parola

The Nesta Foundation wants to embark in Turin and is now negotiating this with the [Italian Foundation] Compagnia di San Paolo. The discussions are still ongoing, so the exact contours of the operation are still to be defined. But it is likely that by June the two entities could sign a deal.

Nesta is a British reality created in 1998 by the Government led by Tony Blair thanks to a £250 million endowment guaranteed by the UK’s National Lottery. Since then, the foundation has become one of the world’s most active in the field of innovation. Its goal is to find ideas that can be transformed into projects and services that have a commercial, cultural or social potential. Over the years, Nesta then expanded its range of activities to other areas such as health, education, arts and creativity.

It is around these themes (and their intersections) that the agreement between the British and Italian foundations should be structured. They are, by the way, very dear to the Compagnia di San Paolo, who is the main director behind the operation.

It is easy to see that if everything goes right, Nesta could put together a series of collaborations in the city, first with SocialFareSocial Renaissance, the accelerator of start-ups dedicated to social innovation, a matter that is one of the key focus areas of the British foundation. Other natural interlocutors could be the operational organs of the Turin foundation, such as the School Foundation or the Links [Leading Innovation and Knowledge for Society] Foundation.

No details have been released yet on the amounts involved or how the operation will be structured. Both the Compagnia di San Paolo and Nesta respond with a laconic “no comment”, also because the discussion is ongoing and the moment is delicate.

In 2012 Nesta was transformed from a public entity into a non-profit foundation. Due to its link with the British National Lottery, its activities are mainly concentrated in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but the entity also works globally, especially by learning from the best ideas around the world and realizing international partnerships that enable it to have a greater impact. Hence, the idea of ​​creating a bridge with Turin and therefore with Italy. A link that is even more important in view of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

For Turin the negotiation with Nesta is a further confirmation of how the Turin foundations have started to move ever more decisively on an international scale. Proof in point was also the recent appointment of Massimo Lapucci, secretary of the CRT Foundation to the presidency of the European Foundation Centre, which is based in Brussels and counts over 220 member entities from 40 different countries.

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