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Innovation Community: doing business is child’s play

Here’s how Exo Italia is stopping brain drain by teaching young students entrepreneurship

We have a problem in Italy: young people with talent are deciding to leave. What if the answer to the brain drain was to transmit entrepreneurial skills while still in the classroom? Find out how by taking a look at Innovation Community, a project by Exo Italia!

The data confirm that Italy no longer seems attractive enough for young people with talent. Public attention is often focused on other issues, ignoring the brain drain, which first drew young people beyond the cities and then beyond national borders. The phenomenon seriously threatens the future of our country.

This has given rise to projects like Innovation Community, an initiative of Exo Latina, an organization that aims to curb the exodus of youth from the suburban areas of the province of Latina. But how? By teaching young people entrepreneurship, they help them discover a field that invites them to stay, starting from their school desks.


Some numbers from Italy

Although the issue of brain drain is by no means new, the figures we are talking about reveal a more disturbing reality than we can imagine. Recent research conducted by the Fondazione Nord Est, in collaboration with the association Talented Italians in the UK, has revealed that the brain drain migration has reached levels far beyond initial estimates, generating a significant impact on the country’s potential for growth. According to ISTAT data, between 2011 and 2021, 377,000 Italians between the ages of 20 and 34 emigrated to more economically advantaged countries. This phenomenon is due to professional and economic precarity for young graduates, an often unstimulating environment, and a lack of incentives that can generate any sort of appeal for young people with entrepreneurial ambition. This exodus carries a significant consequence for the future of our country: fewer young people, fewer businesses.  


Innovation Community: learn to do business in school

Fortunately, however, there is always cause for optimism, thanks also to events such as Maker Faire Rome, which remind us of the existence of a rich ecosystem of innovation in which territory and young minds can, in fact, seize great opportunities for the future, which is the hope also of the Chamber of Commerce of Rome, organizer of the event, having been working for years with the intention of promoting a new way of doing business. It was during the last edition of the event that we discovered an interesting and visionary initiative: Innovation Community, a project by Exo Italia created to transmit the skills needed to understand youth entrepreneurship to students aged 16 to 19. It is based on a hands-on approach, involving students in various activities such as business games, challenges, group activities and nano-conferences with professionals, start-ups and local entrepreneurs

The goal is to provide students with the tools they need to understand business dynamics, preparing them to become agents of change and creators of new innovative opportunities. This is the second edition of the project, funded with 21,200 euros by the Lazio Region through the Vitamina G call for proposals, which involved more than 60 participants in 11 sessions over a four-month period. Innovation Community is a community of young people motivated to shape the future of our territory. The founders drew inspiration from the concept of the “American Club,” popular in U.S. colleges, readapting it to the Italian reality. Their vision is to create a network of young people who can grow, learn and put into practice the skills they have acquired, thus becoming agents of change in their community. The project is funded under the name “Latina Innovation Community,” part of the program, with the support of the Lazio Region’s Youth Policies.


Exo Italia cultivates innovation locally

Innovation Community, however, is just one of the initiatives of Exo Italia, a larger collective project born in 2021 in Latina and fueled by the vision of people who have decided to join forces to jointly address the brain drain in the marginal parts of local areas. Exo’s mission is to promote a culture of innovation by creating events and training programs that unite talent eager to breathe new life into their local areas. Exo’s culture is based on three core principles: community, disruptiveness and a data-driven approach. The association aims to radically change the development model in the areas where it operates, using a data-centered approach to make targeted and effective strategic decisions. One of Exo’s main paradigms of action are projects in schools, such as the Innovation Community, during which young people are exposed to educational stimuli that are new to traditional schooling. Young people are pushed to act on their creativity and instincts by developing innovative ideas, identifying market opportunities, creating business models and planning a marketing and financial management strategy, like real entrepreneurs. Initiatives such as Exodus Community, Exodus Young and Exodus Senior are proof of this as well as a great boost for the creation of an all-Italian talent network.


The future for Exo Italia

More than two years after its founding, Exo Italia is entering a phase of nationwide expansion. The goal is to create a series of local Exo’s in marginal areas, addressing the lack of educational and job opportunities that drives many young people to look elsewhere. With the brain drain being an urgent challenge, Exo Italia is committed to uniting talent and resources to create new prospects and opportunities where they are most needed. Its young founders Lorenzo Di Filippo, Francesco Pappone, Federico Califano, Carlo Porcelli and Nicolò Di Filippo represent real hope and, through their work, prove every day that innovation and collaboration are the key to reversing the negative trend and creating a bright future for Italy.


Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since its very first editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.

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