CP Start-up at USI, a "system" for innovation

Image from the StartCup 2015 finals: the pitch from Clara, the
Image from the StartCup 2015 finals: the pitch from Clara, the "smart" vest for cyclists and runners

Institutional Communication Service

19 February 2018

A mere decade or two ago, young entrepreneurs in Ticino had hardly any options to develop their innovative business ideas other than moving to other parts of the country or even abroad, due to the lack of an adequate framework, or system, in the region to enable budding business ventures. Nowadays, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland is a place where startups and innovation are thriving, thanks also to our own Start-up Promotion Center (CP Start-up) and the key role it plays at USI in enabling innovation and knowledge transfer – a strategic sector for the future of Unversità della Svizzera italiana. 

The Start-up Promotion Center (CP Start-up) at USI helps innovative business ideas – many of which stem from academic research conducted at USI or from students’ initiatives – develop into new products and services and, as such, it contributes to the important process of creating new companies that will ultimately strengthen the overall economic and social environment in the region. 

CP Start-up started its operations in 2004 as a business incubator, providing infrastructure and, most importantly, consulting and coaching services to help young entrepreneurs to succeed in their projects. So far, CP Start-up has supported over 60 startups and has contributed to the creation of 45 new firms and around 150 jobs in the region. 

CP Start-up was created by initiative of the Fondazione per le Facoltà di Lugano dell’USI, and as of January 2018, it is fully incorprated a service unit of USI. This transition confirms the role of CP Start-up as a reference point for the University's endeavours in the field of innovation and knowledge transfer. 

These endeavours involve also many other actors and initiatives, like the new Software Institute or the Centre for Computational Medicine in Cardiology, and the many applied studies carried out in the many disciplines by our researchers or our students with their field projects. Other significant examples of the involvement of USI in innovation and entrepreneurship include Humabs, the successful spin-off of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, the Start-up Training program of Innosuisse (which in Ticino is jointly organized by USI, SUPSI and CP Start-up), the collaboration with the Agire Foundation, and the USI executive education programs, among which USI Executive MBA and CASE BioMed, a program of the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences  for entrepreneurs in the biomed and biotech sectors. 

So, after a first decade spent on developing its study curricula and a second one dedicated to strengthening its research activities, USI today will focus its attention also on the world of innovation and knowledge transfer. In this way, USI intends to consolidate itself and become a reference in the regional (and national) context of innovation, in constant dialogue with other realities and within the framework promoted at the Federal level. An example of this ‘system’ is the StartCup Ticino, a competition for startup initiatives devised by CP Start-up and organized in joint collaboration with USI, SUPSI, the Cantonal government, and the private sector (EFG Bank). Over the past five years, this competition has attracted growing interest not only from startuppers, the public and regional media, but also (and most importantly) from venture investors in Switzerland, who are increasingly looking to the south of the Alps to evaluate innovative business ideas.


Information and contact: www.cpstartup.ch