Have a Great Idea and Business Plan? Apply to the Speed MI Up Incubator!

Reddit, Facebook, Google. Before becoming innovative startups and eventually successful companies, these household names were once just ideas being discussed by college classmates. Campuses around the world are breeding grounds for new business ideas, and leading universities around the world are responding to this trend by setting up business and entrepreneur incubators. And now there’s one right here in Milano!

Speed MI Up is a workshop for companies and professionals that provides training, tutoring and business development to new firms and young professionals. Inidivuals and companies meeting the requirements (see below) can submit their business idea to be considered for participation. The only catch is that candidates will have to set up their strategic headquarters in or around Milan. The incubator’s first competition will accept applications through 29 March, for ideas focusing on either communications or company services. After all applications have been evaluated, five firms and ten professionals will be chosen to particpate.

The incubator is promoted jointly by Università Bocconi, the Milan Chamber of Commerce and the Milan City Council. Participant benefits will include business development services, organizational spaces, a wide range of support, access to funding and internationalization resources.

Drawing depicting business developmentPrerequisites include:

  • an innovative and solid business idea
  • localization of the company either in the City of Milan or the Province of Milan
  • firms need to be newly-created and have an international outlook
  • professionals must under 35 years old and have a college degree

So, if you’d like to join other Bocconi students with innovative startup ideas like Lucia, Federico, Leopoldo and Andrea, Tobia, Giovanni, and Paolo, submit an application!

Get more information on the incubator at these links:
Article published on ViaSarfatti25.eu
Speed MI Up website

Bocconi Student Interview of the Day

Today I’d like to talk you about life in Milan from the point of view of an international, non-European student who’s attending the BIEMF (Bachelor of International Economics, Management and Finance) at Università Bocconi. His name is Takin and he comes from Tehran, the capital of Iran. I met Takin a couple of weeks ago and started talking with him about his past and the time he has been spending in Milano, since he came here in July 2011. Read carefully, most of the time the best help can lay low daily life!

How long have you been living in Milan?
I’ve been here since July 2011. I’m attending the first year of BIEMF at Università Bocconi. I came here two months earlier since I was taking part in a language course at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, where I was learning Italian – and I still have to improve it. The institution had a really friendly vibe. 15 to 20 students formed each class and they all had international background. For me it was more of getting acquainted with different people while learning the basics of Italian language. I would suggest to those students who have the possibility of arriving in Milan few months prior to the start of their university course to attend an Italian language school.

What is the procedure for applying for this institution?
I found Scuola Leonardo da Vinci online, and I submitted my application online too. This Institution provides accommodation for prospective student upon their request and they also organize various cultural events and there are numerous occasions for socializing.

Did you find it difficult to learn Italian and to adapt to Italian culture and lifestyle? What would you suggest to the forthcoming international students?
Since most of the international students attend courses that are held in English they will not encounter any problem in particular. Add on to that, in Bocconi’s environment everyone speaks English sufficiently good as to not let the language barrier be a source of inconvenience for you. I must however say that, this barrier to communication will eventually prevent you from socializing outside the circle of your international friends.

Do you mean out of the academic world?
I would say out of BIEMF course. Even though most of the students at Bocconi do speak English, they lag behind once the content of conversation entails a mediocre understanding of English.
Outside the university environment, for an international student dealing with daily routine works it does not necessitate a previous knowledge of Italian in my opinion.

What did you do before leaving your country?
I finished my high school in Tehran and thereafter I traveled abroad, mainly to improve my English. I spent few months preparing for Toefl and SAT after I was convinced to take the latter instead of Bocconi’s entrance exam since they did not provide a comprehensive guideline for it. Besides, SAT is a globally recognized certificate with numerous publishers providing instructions and preparations for its tests. With having SAT certificate and a high GPA, you would ensure your place at Bocconi.

If you owned a Time Machine, would you change anything in what you did?
I don’t think I would! I made many mistakes and I had my regrets in life, but I rely on those experiences as my personal mentor. They influence you, teach you and build your personality more than anything else, I believe. Yet If I knew I would have difficulties with finding an apartment, I would have been more careful in my choice.

When did you start looking for an accommodation?
I had already found an apartment prior to my arrival. But things didn’t go well, and in September I had to move. You can imagine looking for a place in September is not always easy. I had to look for one or two apartments each day after lectures since my contract was ending. Eventually I found a place in one of Bocconi residences and I am still residing there. This waste of time for me preceded other problems too.

Is there any tip you want to give to students looking for accommodations from abroad?
I just have to mention to those who are looking for accommodation online, they have to be ensured about the nature of housing websites. With those like craigslist you have to be more cautious and knowing that there are many scams! I would suggest the housing websites that are available in Università Bocconi’s website that you can find in house haunting section. I also found easystanza.it and Immobiliare.it useful.

… While once you are here?
Announcements for renting are almost ubiquitous around university. From Notices pinned to trees outside to others on the boards inside the buildings you can find numerous rooms, apartments, and lofts to rent.
Of course, real estate agencies are always available however they charge a commission fee if using their service.

What are the steps to follow to come to Italy as a Non-European citizen?
This – Takin shows me a detailed sheet – is something they gave me in Bocconi: “Relocation in Milan”.
Within 8 working days of arrival, NON-EU citizens who hold a valid student visa for Italy must apply for a permit of stay for study purposes (Permesso di soggiorno per motivi di studio) that is issued by the local Police Department ( Questura – Ufficio Stranieri ).

To be identified as an individual person in the Italian state when dealing with public offices and administrations a Fiscal Code (Codice Fiscale) must be requested and obtained from “ Agenzia delle Entrate”.

In Italy, national healthcare is provided by a public healthcare service (SSN: National Healthcare Service) and only foreign nationals with a valid permit of stay can apply for the service.
Opening an Italian bank account also requires having a Permit of stay and a Fiscal Code.

About softer topics… Let’s talk about cuisine, do you miss Iranian dishes?
Of course I do miss them and nothing would replace Iranian dishes for me. But it comes without saying that if you are in Italy you will above all relish their delectable cuisine. You don’t have to be a chef to prepare a delicious meal because it is easy to make using Italian ingredients.

And what about the habits you had while living in your homeland that you cannot do here?
I cannot recall a particular habit, but studying abroad in general is different than living with your family in your hometown. The spread spectrum and the variety of choices you have in a cosmopolitan city like Milano is not comparable to my hometown.

What’s your attitude towards Milano? Are there any special places in the city you would suggest to go to?
After I strolled around the city center for the first time, one thing that really stood out for me was the most stunning piece of architecture, the gothic cathedral of Milan, Duomo. Milan is a wealthy city of glamorous people, full of stylish boutiques, marvelous restaurants and on-trend nightlife. On Friday and Saturday nights Colonne di San Lorenzo is packed with people of every kind. It is a great place to get to know new people and socialize. I would like to mention that Blue Note is my favorite place. This venue is known for hosting top-notch jazz in a classy atmosphere. Since the ticket prices are a bit steep, a student life will not allow you to be a frequent visitor. If you appreciate jazz music, I would most certainly suggest visiting Blue Note. From nightclubs like Alcatraz with its retro nights and 60s, 80s style, to commercial clubs like Old Fashion and Just Cavalli, you have everything to make your nightlife enjoyable in Milan.

Interview with a Bocconi Student

In order to get more Bocconi students involved in MilanoZine, we have decided to start a monthly feature on the website with interviews from international students in Bocconi detailing their experiences in Milan.

PROFILE: Burcu Demiral, 2nd year Master of Science student from Turkey


MZ: How long have you been living in Milan?
I have been living in Milano since September 2009, so since my master has started.

MZ: What were your first impressions of the city?
The first time that I came to Milano was five years ago with my friends for a few days to visit the city. At the time I came, I had no idea that I was going to live here sometime in the future. The first impression of the city is not as other historic Italian cities, that you love it at the first sight. But you start to like it after you spend some time here.

MZ: What do you think about the city now that you have lived here longer?
In general I enjoy living here. It is a bit of a small city that after a while you realize that there aren’t many varied places to go. But still you can find plenty of museums, exhibitions to go. On the other hand, it is a very colorful fashion city that attracts you a lot.

MZ: How easy was it for you to live here without knowing Italian?
At the university it is not a problem, because most of the people speak English. However when you get out of the university funny part of life starts. I came here without knowing any Italian. And although I didn’t have much enthusiasm to learn at the beginning, but since I came for two years, I realized that I should learn it, so that I started having Italian classes. In the meanwhile I pretty much improved my skills to describe the stuff to a non English speaker.

MZ: Why did you choose to study in Italy?
Actually at the beginning of my search for master programs, I was more focused on going to England. And I wasn’t really thinking about Italy. Then during my search period I found out about Bocconi University, and started to think that it can be also a very good idea to live in Italy. Mainly because of its culture, people, etc.

MZ: Describe your experiences studying at Bocconi University?
First of all the workload of the course is quite higher than my bachelor. We have done so many group projects and class presentations so far. It is a very competitive university, which itself makes you ambitious.

MZ: Is Bocconi an international university?
Bocconi tries to be an international university but it is still lack of at some points. In my opinion one of its main boundaries is the language. Since it has master programs in English, and that it doesn’t ask for a pre Italian knowledge, all the sub services of the university should be held in English as well. For example In-company trainings or most of the seminars are done in Italian, which are very key points while you are studying at university.

Miss and Mister International Bocconi 2010

Spring and sunny weather are here and we all feel lot more energetic and happier! MilanoZine wanted to take advantage of such a mood and organized a “Miss and Mister International Bocconi 2010” competition!!! It was advertised on our Facebook page and we were pleased with the over 20 interested applicants! However, after a careful consideration of all of them, we choose our two pretty cool finalists!
We are proud to announce the winners of this competition, Miss Inga Bakuridze and Mister Marin Cojocaru! MilanoZine had a quick chat with them about what is their experience of living in Milan like and what are they favorite things about this city.
Have a look, even though you may be familiar with most of the places they mention you may also discover new and interesting hot spots for international students in Milan!

Inga Bakuridze – Miss International Bocconi 2010 (Graduate student at Bocconi, from Georgia)

“I have been living in Milan for a few years now and been making the greatest lifetime memories of student life. The Italian lifestyle is very easy to get used to but most of all what I like in this city is its ability to offer an international environment full of fun and entertainment.
The evening is the best part of my day since I go out with my friends for an aperitivo or just for a drink. My favorite places are: Slice, Refeel, B4, Yguana, Fashion Café, Shu etc. My favorite restaurants are: Big Pizza (for pizza of course), Seven (for some good, meat steak), Oscar (very tasty and a big amount of pasta) and Papas and Beer (great Mexican food).
We go pretty often to the Naviglio for a drink and my favorite clubs are: ‘Just Cavalli’, ‘Old Fashion’, ‘Bobino’, ‘Le Banque’, ‘Karma’, ‘The Club’. During the winter it’s always nice to go for ice-skating with friends and to the movies but I prefer the spring time, because the city is more alive and you can go in the park, sit outside in the bar or visit the swimming pool when it gets hotter and, most importantly, people seem happier!
On Sundays I meet up with my friends for brunch in Californian Bakery to eat delicious bagels and pancakes after the wild Saturday clubbing night. Oh, and of course as most Bocconi students know, there is no perfect lunch break during the week without stopping for lunch or for a coffee at Taxi Blues around the corner of Bocconi 🙂
I think living in a different country away from your home is not easy, so seeing a lot of international students like me and hanging out with them makes me feel so culturally diverse but at the same time it also makes me feel more at home.

Hope you all are having a great time in Milan, enjoying the best period of your life because this city has a lot to offer and you should definitely take advantage of it!!!”

Marin Cojocaru – Mister International Bocconi 2010 (second year student of Bachelor in International Economics and Management at Bocconi, from Moldova)

“I came to Italy in search of new life experiences and also to get a degree in economics at one of Europe’s top universities. What I like most about Milan is that it is a living city, there are always things to be seen and to be done, the perfect city for student life.

There are some MUST SEE places, if you stay in Milan you have to go there; Duomo di Milano, Castello Sforzesco, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper at the S.ta Maria delle Grazie, Teatro alla Scala and San Siro stadium.

When you get tired of touring around Milan and want to spoil yourself with some delicious Italian food, I suggest you to go to “Wish”, a lounge restaurant located near Parco Sempione. A very friendly and relaxing ambiance, best for spending some quality time with friends while enjoying a good meal. For a special occasion you can go to “Piccolo Sogno”, but I warn you the prices are not consumer friendly.

If you are more in the mood to chat and meet new people, well there is no better place than zona Navigli. You can find there a variety of bars, cocktail bars, pubs etc. After an aperitivo I would suggest you to take your friends and go to “The Club”disco. It’s not too big nor too small, just perfect, full of beautiful people, and the DJ is really good, and every night there is a different “serata”. Also it is known to be the disco were famous people go when they come to Milan. In May all of “The Club” moves to “The Beach”, an open air disco, an amazing experience.

If you are tired of pubs and discos, visit Bowling Corvetto. You will have fun even if don’t know how to bowl because the place is totally awesome, the music and the lights will put you in the right mood.”

Finally, MilanoZine would like to thank our Miss and Mister International Bocconi 2010 once again on their great presentation!