The UniCredit Start Lab Academy continued with a focus on how to create and market an idea
The weekly programme for UniCredit’s Startup Academy continued with a focus on how to create an entrepreneurial project and how to communicate it to your audience. The meetings were also attended by special guests who offered guidance and advice to the 60 startups selected by the UniCredit Start Lab, and fostered healthy debates with some of their thoughts.
Danilo Mazzara, Strategy Advisor and Open Innovation Lead of Accenture Strategy, introduced the first session focusing on the concept of ‘value proposition’. The creation of a business idea starts with the exact understanding of the value it will create, and it requires an approach to the market planned in advance, especially in a B2B context. When developing a new idea, according to Mazzara, it is essential to avoid frequent mistakes such as: underestimating the role services around a product can have; adopting pricing policies based more on ‘cost plus’ (i.e. the definition of a price mark-up starting from the cost of production) than on the value actually generated; and, finally, not taking into account the different roles involved in the purchasing process (e.g. influencers, decision makers, payer).
“The creation of a business idea starts with the exact understanding of the value it will create, and it requires an approach to the market planned in advance, especially in a B2B context.”
Danilo Mazzara, Strategy Advisor and Open Innovation Lead of Accenture Strategy
Tommaso Arenare, Strategic Consultant of Egon Zehnder, who specialises in leadership development and corporate governance, spoke about the importance of network relationships and the selection of the right people, not only when choosing the management team, but also staff, partners and investors.
The day continued with a speech by Francesca Caminiti, Accenture Research Director for Europe, who focused on the importance of data to draw up a business plan, particularly with regards to data selection, availability and accessibility. The concrete development of a business idea was at the centre of Ray Garcia’s speech, Managing Director of Bouyont Capital, who stressed the importance of having adequate distribution and sales channels.
During the lesson dedicated to the marketing of an idea – entitled “packaging your idea” – there was a lively exchange by some of the leading Italian and European experts of digital communication and social networks.
Luca La Mesa, Social Media Expert and President of P&G Alumni, stressed the importance of social media to develop an effective communications strategy, illustrating case studies, experiences and tactics to leverage social media in an intelligent, successful and creative way.
"We are all social media content creators. Smartphones allow everyone to be part of the game, even if it not always with relevant content. In a world where capturing attention is getting more and more difficult, I believe the future of social media can only be based on quality and stand out content.”
Luca La Mesa, Social Media Expert and President of P&G Alumni
Marco Quadrella, COO of the Consulting Area of Search On Media Group, enriched the discussion by extending it to search engine communication strategies to make the most of SEO’s (Search Engine Optimisation) potential and keyword strategy.
"SEO allows you to increase quantity and quality of traffic on websites; but it is only one side of the coin. Especially for a startup, the skills that SEO provides us with on market analysis (quantity of searches, cost of each key, etc.) can be used in business orientation and in the definition of marketing strategies".
Marco Quadrella, COO of the Consulting Area of Search On Media Group
With Arturo Frisoli and Olga Farreras, Enterprise Relationship Managers of LinkedIn, and their speech “Rock your profile”, we focused on the evolution of LinkedIn, which over the years has become a social media platform where quality content is shared by reliable contributors that express knowledge in a specific sector.
"To date, 706 million professional profiles are connected to LinkedIn – of which 14 million are in Italy – and about 50 million companies worldwide. Startups especially can benefit from having direct access to this, allowing all players in their business to network using the platform".
Arturo Frisoli and Olga Farreras, Enterprise Relationship Managers of LinkedIn
Together with Raffaele Perrone, Associate Partner of PwC Emerging Companies Services, we focused on another key form of communication: the financial plan, which consists of three documents – income statement, balance sheet and cash flow – and represents a complete numerical/financial picture of an entrepreneurial project.
The final speech by Uljan Sharka, CEO of iGenius, offered a practical demonstration of a successful transition from startup to scale-up. The qualification of partners, financial resources, customers and markets are the first aspects to be explored in order to validate a business model, move to the business development phase and kick off the transition from startup to scale-up. This is precisely what happened with iGenius, a scale-up which is constantly growing thanks to an international team of more than 100 people, a significant network of partners, international awards and a flagship product, Crystal, the virtual data intelligence consultant.