The Business Networking Week in Italy (BNWI) is a training and business development program that E4Impact offers to the best entrepreneurs of the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship. The first edition of the BNWI took place in 2018 from September the 10th to the 14th. 24 E4Impact entrepreneurs, from Kenya, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, had the chance to stay in ALTIS – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan (Italy) and to participate to a week of events, workshops, meetings with italian investors and entrepreneurs and visits to big italian companies.
The week started with the Italy-Africa Business forum, which took place in Assolombarda (Milan) on the 10th September. With their speeches, the President of E4Impact Foundation, Letizia Moratti, the CEO Mario Molteni and honoured speakers like Giorgio Squinzi (CEO of Mapei), Pietro Salini (CEO of Salini-Impregilo), Diana Bracco (President and CEO of Bracco Group), Emanuele Bellini (Internationl Office of Intesa Sanpaolo), Antonio Intiglietta (President of Ge.Fi), Laura Colnaghi (President of Carvico Spa), Massimo Dal Checco (President of Sidi SpA) and Marco Borsatti (Africa Sales Manager of Idro Group Scarl) presented the business opportunities between Italy and Africa.
At the end of the event, three entrepreneurs were awarded the Gian Marco Moratti Award as Best Entrepreneurs of E4Impact 2018 within three categories:
- Best Business Model, Elias Aryanyijuka with Home to Africa
- Best Innovation, Mabel Quarshie with Acquatic World Industries
- Best Social Impact, Yangni-Angate Koffi Herve with the Institute of Cardiology of Bouake
The following days, the program of the BNWI offered the entrepreneurs the opportunity of acquiring knowledge about the Italian entrepreneurial ecosystems and networks and getting in touch with important business realities. Training sessions, workshops and a Venture Lab were organized to foster the exchanges between Africa and Italy and to ensure that the African entrepreneurs could meet italian investors.
But learning doesn’t only mean lessons and speeches: a great part of the program included visits to big Italian companies.
On Wednesday the 12th the 24 entrepreneurs visited Barilla Company in Parma, where they were welcomed by Paolo Barilla with a presentation of the company’s history and a guided tour of the factory; they also had the chance to taste some delicious Barilla pasta. Next trip was to ICA in Bologna, a packaging machineries company. There, the entrepreneurs had the chance to visit the plant, watch the machinery performances and meet the company management and its founder, Gino Raparini.
Other cluster visits included the Istituto Clinico Humanitas in Rozzano (Milan), the Idro Group Scarl in Seregno (Milan) and Fiera Milano in Rho (Milan).
The greetings time on the last day showed the great enthusiasm and satisfaction on both sides, the entrepreneurs and the organizers. The BNWI inteded to be a training and business development program to establish a collaboration platform between African Entrepreneurs and Italian Investors, Businesses and Startups, but, in the end, it was even much more than this. We are thankful to all those that made it possible to set it up and particularty for the support of Fondazione Fiera Milano.
We’re now looking forward to organizing the next edition and we’re full of expectations.
>> Watch the video of the week <<