Plymouth business bosses help Italian start-ups

By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor, Herald

  • COLLABORATION: Businesses from Italy and Plymouth at a mentoring session in Caserta

PLYMOUTH business leaders have been mentoring start-up companies in Italy as part of a mutually beneficial project.

Mutley Plain-based Tellus Education Group created a project to allow trainers and professionals to experience new training methods while helping progress business ideas in Italy.

Among those taking part in the Training Entrepreneurial Skills Transnationally (TEST) programme were Tellus’ chairman Neil Pick, Amanda Bishop, from Devon Chamber of Commerce, and Kevin Kelway, of Dorcas Media.

The trainers visited the 012Factory, an innovative start-up incubator and accelerator in Caserta, 30 km north of Naples.

The organisation provides aspiring business bosses with a 12-module academy.

The Plymouth delegation provided training, presentations, mentoring and formal and non-formal lessons in business and entrepreneurship.

And they returned home inspired by the innovative business they had met – and 012Factory’s training model.

The project was run under the EU’s £12billion Erasmus+ programme for education, training, youth and sport.

In the UK, the programme is managed by the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.

The project was funded under Key Action 1 of the programme, specifically as a Staff Mobility teaching/training assignment abroad.

Roberto Greco, project co-ordinator from Tellus, said: “TEST has been hugely beneficial for all parties involved.

“Aspiring entrepreneurs at 012Factory have been immersed in UK business culture and mindset, while UK trainers discovered an innovative and dynamic environment, which allows entrepreneurs to grow.

“At the same time both project partners set the foundation for a long-lasting and fruitful collaboration”.

Enrico Vellante, project manager at 012Factory, said: “By the end of the project all start-ups had prepared a pitch in English and incorporated suggestions from the UK trainers into their business ideas.”

And 012Factory benefited from discussing and reflecting on our business model, the academy and environment we are trying to create.

“It was a brilliant project and one we would like to replicate.”

Mr Pick said: “It was an intense week, we met lots of aspiring entrepreneurs and discussed numerous business ideas.

“We encouraged them to reflect critically on all aspects of their business, and offered tips and suggestions.

“As an entrepreneur, I tried to pass on my experience and knowledge.

“However, I also returned to Plymouth with an enriched enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Roberta Ventrella, a student at the academy said, “The training sessions with English mentors were crucial for the development of my business.

“The trainers provided me with expert business advice and helped me prepare my product for the foreign market.

“They even gave me a tagline I’m now using in my marketing material and assisted me in preparing my pitch for Unbound Digital 2015 in London.”

For information about funding opportunities:, or use #epluspeople to see what other projects are doing in the UK.

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(Publicity generated by Dorcas Media)


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