At the start of the "roadshow" for the selection of the 10 startups that will take part in the project in this first call
Human Company, after recently announcing its participation as a corporate partner in Argo – the first acceleration programme for startups and innovative SMEs that develop solutions or services for tourism and hospitality – hosts the first of the roadshows at the Central Market in Florence for the selection of the startups that will take part in the project.
Argo is part of CDP's National Accelerators Network and was launched by CDP Venture Capital in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism. The acceleration programme is managed by LVenture Group, one of the main startup accelerators in Europe (which co-invests together with CDP Venture Capital in the selected startups) and VeniSIA, the sustainable innovation ecosystem of Ca' Foscari University, Venice. Together with Human Company, Argo is supported by the main partners Intesa Sanpaolo and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, while the Italian School of Hospitality is the technical partner: it is a network specifically created for the development of specialised startups in a market, that of tourism, with considerable growth potential.
The purpose of the programme is to identify and select the most promising Italian or international traveltech startups that intend to open an operational headquarters on the Italian market. Every year, for the next three years, 10 startups and SMEs with innovative products or services in the field of tourism will be selected: the selected companies will receive a pre-seed investment of about EUR 75,000 for equity from 3% to 8%, with the possibility of accessing subsequent post-selection financing, including a non-repayable contribution of EUR 25,000 from the Ministry of Tourism.
"Supporting all the startups and SMEs that are taking their first steps in the tourism sector, especially in open-air, but not only that, is a matter of primary importance for Human Company, which is today engaged in an important process – the company's digital transformation," comments Luca Belenghi, CEO of Human Company "The group believes in the development of an ecosystem of new, innovative companies at the national level for the growth of sustainable tourism, capable of facing the challenges of a sector in a phase of huge transformation: new tourist needs, new technologies and new opportunities. Identifying the most innovative solutions in a sector that is so crucial to our country, both from an economic and employment point of view, allows all players to grow accordingly. It is a project with a high human value that expresses the need for the entire tourism sector to push further towards digitalisation and sustainability".
The Argo project has come to life, as well as arriving at its most interesting phase: the selection phase is developed through three "roadshows", dedicated meeting events in which the 30 most interesting proposals will be explored, with further interviews by the Accelerator team.
The first of these was held in Florence right in the Central Market on 25 January; it will be followed by two others, on 1 and 8 February respectively. Only 16 startups will be selected to participate in the "Selection Day", the last step that will take place on 20 March in front of an audience of programme partners. The acceleration programme, starting in April and lasting for 5 months, will allow the 10 selected startups to grow through a training course with experts in the sector and validate the product and the business model for the go-to-market.