It is focused on creating high-tech startups in Italy by the best and brightest Italians through an exchange program with Silicon Valley.

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The program


To stimulate economic competition and the creation of a high-tech entrepreneurial culture in Italy by transferring best US cultural and business practices through an innovative exchange program with Silicon Valley.

Launched in 2007, BEST is today a successful program ready to be scale-up to support Italy’s change.


BEST is a bilateral Italy-USA program.

The most important of the industry and with the best track record of successes.


It is a cooperation between the US Embassy in Italy, the Fulbright Commission in Italy, INVITALIA and Italian General Consulate in San Francisco.

BEST is managed by a Steering Committee.


Three modules: education, training on the job and mentoring to create a startup in Italy.

It is funded by companies, institutions and the Italian Regions who can use the European Social Fund for Entrepreneurship (ESF).


Italian citizens (<35 years old) in possession of a Bachelor degree or Graduated or PhD or attending a PhD. The program is open to students in art, fashion and design.


The Steering Committee manages and ensures that BEST winners have access to the Italian and US ecosystem to launch and grow their start up.
Invitalia is the implementing partner for Italy.

Steering Committee

John R. Phillips

Former US Ambassador to the Republic of Italy and the Republic of San Marino (2013-2017)

Ronal P. Spogli

CEO Freeman & Spogli, Los Angeles,  former US Ambassador to Italy (2005-2009)

David H. Thorne

Former US Ambassador to Italy (2009-2013)

Fernando Napolitano

Italian Business & Investment Initiative CEO, New York, Chairman of BEST SC

Domenico Arcuri

CEO Invitalia

Massimo Bergami

Dean Alma Graduate School

Luigi Capello

CEO LVenture

Francesco Inguscio

BEST Alumnus

Claudio Giuliano

Managing Partner Innogest

Massimiliano Montefusco

Marketing Director Radio Dimensione Suono

Elizabeth Robinson

Quadrivio Capital Investment Director


This program allows those with leadership -- desire to experiment, perseverance to overcome obstacles, ambition to succeed, courage of knowledge, confidence that change is a must, determined to be an actor of positive change in Italy -- to learn how to create a successful business working-out in the best world’s gym: Silicon Valley.

Change your life. Change Italy.

Selection workflow

How It Works


    The tender is managed by the Fulbright Commission in Italy; it ends on March 30 of the following year. For more info

    Each candidate submits his/her idea by filling the forms that will find online (Fulbright Italy website)


    After a first selection of the application received on-line, the candidates with the best ideas will be invited to Rome for an interview in English.
    Members of the Fulbright Commission and industry experts compose the selection committee.


    The Fulbright Commission announces the winners by the end of May.
    The winners leave for San Francisco at the beginning of September.

The scholarship covers all costs: taxes and tuition fees, monthly allowance, health insurance, program fees, books, transportation, orientation program in Italy before departure and an orientation program upon arrival.

Key Performance Indicators

Numbers at a glance: Startup and jobs created, sales, projects funded and other key indicators that confirm the success of BEST program.
37high tech startup created in Italy
30Million Euro of financing rounds, primarily by US funds
9.5million euro total turnover by the 37 startup
320new jobs created
4countries where the startup operate: Italy, Singapore, UK, Usa
10editions to date
16Italian Regions of origin of the winners

Startups created through BEST

Selected video interviews of startup founders

Complete list of startup

  • JMTVideo
    Startup settore advertising – rif: Vincenzo De Laurentiis
  • Lambda Energy (sito non disponibile)
    Startup in ambito solare / energy – rif: Francesco Riboli
  • LimeLab
    Startup settore design – rif: Roberto Carisi
  • Material Recovery Systems
    Startup servizi industriali – rif: Antonio Gentile
  • Nuvolab
    Acceleratore di startup privato – rif: Francesco Inguscio
  • Qiris
    Acceleratore di stratup privato – rif: Nicholas Caporusso
  • Quipu
    Startup biomedicale – rif: Elisabetta Bianchini
  • Remembrane
    Startup biomedicale – rif: Alexandros Chatgilialoglu
  • Slowd
    Startup in ambito design – rif: Stefano Rossi
  • Smania
    Startup settore medicale, rif; Silvia Bossi
  • T4ALL
    Startup Web & Mobile Software company – rif: Giovanni Luca Daino
  • Tec Star
    Startup Nanotech – rif: Lorenzo Calabri
  • TechOnYou
    Startup Biomedicale
  • TechPeaks
    Acceleratore di startup pubblico (provincia autonoma di Trento) – rif: Paolo Lombardi
  • Terapiasicura
    Startup settore medicale – rif: Riccardo Petelin
  • The Algae Factory
    Startup settore food – rif: Pierluigi Santoro
  • Treedom
    Startup settore sostenibilità ambientale – rif: Lorenzo Martelletti e Federico Maria Grati
  • ViaggiVerdi
    Startup settore travel – rif: Simone Riccardi
    Startup software – rif: Paolo Meola




The Italian regions have the opportunity to use the European Social Fund for Entrepreneurship.

To date only two Italian regions activated it: Emilia Romagna and Tuscany

The European Social Fund (ESF) is the main policy tool used by the EU to support employment, ensure more equitable employment opportunities for all.

The ESF invests in human capital: workers, young people and those in search of a job. With a budget of € 10 billion a year, the ESF will increase the employment prospects of millions of European citizens, paying particular attention to who is more difficult to find work.
For more information click here.


The ESF to Italy in 2007-2013 amounted to € 14 billion from EU funds (6.9 billion €) and National (€ 7 billion).

The goal of BEST is to award least 300 Italians per year at a cost of Euro 525,000 per Region

The European Social Fund 2014-2020 is enhanced especially in the following areas:

  • establishment of a minimum in the ESF budget allocated to each category of regions, the highest elevation of the previous one (about 25% for the less developed regions, 40% for those “in transition” and 52% for the more developed ones);
  •  in total it comes to at least EUR 84 billion for the ESF against 75 of the current programming