One of the main risks of innovating in the technology sector is falling in love with your own solution. Innovating in technology means not only to invent, but also to put yourself out there, exposing your solution to the world for comparison and growth through feedback and collaboration. GenoGra is a vivid example of how innovation is a journey that goes beyond the creation of a technological solution. Following our triumph at StartCup Lombardia 2022 (which we discussed in a previous blog post), GenoGra had the honor of participating in the prestigious Premio Nazionale dell’Innovazione (PNI) and the Young Entrepreneur Program (YEP), demonstrating a constant commitment to growth and international expansion.
GenoGra at the Premio Nazionale dell’Innovazione
The PNI represents the most extensive and comprehensive Business Plan competition in Italy, aiming to select the best innovative startup projects each year in four innovation sectors: CleanTech & Energy, Life Sciences & MedTech, ICT, and Industrial. The PNI offers a prize pool made up of cash prizes and special prizes and mentions offered by PNICube partners to support the development of the best entrepreneurial projects.
In 2022, the PNI took place in the beautiful setting of the Palazzo dell’Emiciclo in L’Aquila, with the participation of 65 projects, and GenoGra competing in the Life Sciences and MedTech category. The environment was lively and stimulating, with 24 startups competing in our category. Among them were innovative projects like Impavid’s cardiac patch and the 0-TATOO system for non-invasive tattoo removal, with a potential impact on the spread of RNA vaccines in less developed countries by circumventing cold chain issues. The category prize was awarded to Iridea Pharmaceuticals for their IRIANT project, which focuses on developing a new-generation molecule capable of effectively fighting Diabetic Retinopathy through subcutaneous injection.
Despite the intense competition, GenoGra stood out for the originality and effectiveness of its solutions, successfully facing the competition. This allowed us to be selected, along with five other internationally-focused startups, to participate in the Young Entrepreneur Program (YEP). This program supports the entrepreneurial development of young researchers and students in Italy and France.
GenoGra’s Experience at the Young Entrepreneur Program
Organized by PNICube and Pépite France, and supported by the Italian and French governments and Kering S.A., the YEP aims to develop the entrepreneurial skills of young Italian and French researchers and students, involving them in an international network of innovation and entrepreneurship through an educational and enriching experience.
In June 2023, our CEO spent 12 days in France, exploring the Grand Est’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The first stop was the PeeL (Pôle entrepreneuriat étudiant de Lorraine) in Nancy, followed by a stay in Strasbourg at the Pépite Etena. This experience allowed us to validate our hypotheses in the French context and market, expose ourselves to new funding opportunities, and expand our network with essential connections.
During the program, we had the opportunity to conduct several customer interviews in centers of excellence, such as L’Ecole de Chirurgie de Nancy-Lorraine and the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes at CNRS. In addition, we had fruitful meetings with BPI France (Banque Publique d’Investissement), which illustrated how the French government supports the development of innovative companies at various stages of advancement, even in the case of startups and scaleups that only partially relocate to French territory. Other exciting opportunities emerged from meetings with Quest for Health, an accelerator focusing on Biotech, Medtech, and E-health, and BioValley, a competitive cluster that supports innovation in the health sector. Both located in Strasbourg, these entities have one of their main strengths in their location in one of Europe’s most advanced areas in healthcare innovation.
The program concluded with the participation in the 360 Grand Est, the main innovation event in Eastern France, focusing on four verticals: Environment, Digital, Industry, and Health. In addition to the opportunity to attend talks, workshops, exhibitions, and demos by startups, companies, and researchers engaged in technological innovation, participating in the event allowed us to extend our network with international connections, which are fundamental for our development beyond national borders.
GenoGra’s participation in the PNI and YEP was not only a showcase for our innovative genomic analysis technology but also an educational journey that enriched our team and broadened our horizons. We thank Pepite and PNICube for organizing such initiatives, which generate value for dozens of Italian and French startups every year. A special thanks to PeeL and Pépite Etena for the fantastic hospitality and support during our stay in France: their guidance and advice were fundamental in our growth journey. Arrived in France as guests, we returned to Italy with new friends, bringing with us valuable lessons and unique perspectives for the future of GenoGra.