Support to the generation and the development of start-ups and spin-offs

Cross-Cutting Activity 1

  1. Initially, there is the planning and validation of all activities. A dedicated team has been assembled to support these plans, ensuring smooth execution.
  2. Moving on, the Pre-acceleration phase is encountered. Envision it as the creative birthplace: its goal is to transform promising projects into tangible research start-ups and spin-offs through a Call for Exploring Ideas. This is the moment when unique ideas step into the spotlight. The end of this phase is marked by the selection of the best ideas—those that will be nurtured throughout their development.
  3. Next, the third phase, Acceleration, is where the future takes shape. The focus is on defining the business model for the selected start-ups and spin-offs: it is akin to crafting the perfect recipe for success. This phase includes a dense agenda of workshops, in which entrepreneurs-to-be learn how to highlight their start-up’s strengths and potentialities.
  4. Lastly, Fundraising. Managing investment rounds helps start-ups grow into powerful scale-ups—companies whose features are congenial for their international success. Consider fundraising as the ultimate support system: networks are built, preparations for investments are made, and a sustainable path is plotted for the long run.

Pre-acceleration: where ideas are unfolded

The primary objective of the Pre-acceleration phase is to encourage doctoral students, researchers, and pre-seed start-up members to share bright ideas that could be turned into successful entrepreneurial projects. These primal ideas are collected as applications for a Call for Exploring Ideas. Within Spoke 9, the goal is to receive at least 15–20 applications.

To achieve this objective, a dedicated figure is needed: the Scouting Specialist. Their mission is to find potential entrepreneurs among students, researchers, and pre-seed start-up members within universities and research institutes. To do so, the Scouting Specialist organizes one-on-one meetings to help future start-up founders put together a successful pitch. This is a crucial step toward the Selection Day, in which all candidates’ pitches are unveiled. The CC1 Committee then proceeds to evaluate them and hence decide which start-up projects are admitted to the Acceleration phase.

Simultaneously with scouting activities, work is underway on creating materials to give future entrepreneurs essential knowledge and skills.
Open Innovation activities are also planned, connecting universities, start-ups, and businesses for new projects and collaborations.

Are you willing to apply for the Call for Exploring Ideas?

Contact the SISSA Valorisation and Innovation Office:

Acceleration: where innovators become entrepreneurs

To those that successfully pass the Selection Day, iNEST opens the doors to its Acceleration program—a structured path designed to mold innovative ideas into thriving enterprises. In this program, theory meets practice in a fusion of workshops and webinars, equipping teams with essential skills for entrepreneurial success. At its core lies the lean start-up methodology, empowering rapid iteration and validation of solutions, ideal for research-driven technologies seeking commercial traction. Peer learning accelerates progress as teams share experiences and solutions, and expert coaches from different universities and institutes provide personalized guidance, translating theory into actionable strategies tailored to each start-up’s context.

The Acceleration phase serves as a vital conduit, connecting participants with investors and industry leaders, paving the way for strategic collaborations and continuous growth. This journey culminates in the Demo Day, a platform where start-ups unveil their vision to potential investors. Through this dynamic initiative, iNEST not only fosters an entrepreneurial mindset but also strengthens the fabric of the regional innovation ecosystem.


Cross-Cutting Activity 1 starts in month 1 and ends in month 36.
Its leader is the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (UNIVE).