USI Startup Centre, a community for innovation


Institutional Communication Service

28 January 2021

As part of the celebrations for its 25th anniversary and its mission to contribute to the overall social-economic development in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, and together with other partners in the Ticino Regional System of Innovation, Università della Svizzera italiana engages in many activities to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. Among these, we find USI Startup Centre, the incubator and service unit for startup entrepreneurs, which has undergone a complete overhaul, including the relocation of its offices and workspaces at the new Lugano East Campus.

"USI Startup Centre is part of the strategic framework of initiatives related to the third mission of the University, which is to serve the community and contribute to the overall social-economic growth in the region", explains Prof. Luca Maria Gambardella, Pro-Rector for Innovation and Corporate Relations at USI. "By confirming its commitment to the incubation of startup initiatives, USI pursues objective of transferring knowledge to society and of transforming research results into useful know-how for enterprises. The opening of the USI Startup Centre on the new Lugano East Campus is both intentional and strategic, given the opportunity for strong synergies between USI - with its Faculties of Informatics and of Biomedical Sciences - and SUPSI - with its Department of Innovative Technologies".

USI Startup Centre is the result of a complete overhaul of the Start-up Promotion Centre (CP Start-up), the service unit of USI created in 2004 by initiative of Foundation for the Lugano Faculties of USI and transferred to the University in 2018. In addition to the new name and the new corporate design, the renovated USI service unit has reinforced its team and reorganised its processes, to fulfil its purpose of contributing to the growth of the entrepreneurial culture in the academic community and in the regional economy. USI supports and contributes to the lively startup community in our region by increasing the quality of its services for the incubation of innovative entrepreneurial projects. The startup community grows also through the organisation of events throughout the year. "We want to open our doors to people interested in discovering the world of innovation," says Francesco Lurati, professor at USI and director of USI Startup Centre. "We will do this with events that connect startuppers with the academic world, so that they can share ideas and experiences and generate that ‘energy’ needed for them to develop; but also more popular or networking events, to grow the innovation ecosystem in Ticino and establish valuable relationships for the growth path of startuppers".

A core service of the USI Startup Centre is the incubator, a structure designed to support startups in their early stages, providing professional mentoring and coaching, training and access to the regional and national entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems, as well as providing workspaces. "We receive more than a hundred requests every year, which shows how relevant and necessary this sort of service is," comments Alcide Barberis, director of the incubator at USI Startup Centre. "In our incubator we have on average over 25 startups that we typically follow for a period of two years, in particular by introducing them to a 'network' of experts and contacts that are essential for growing an innovative business initiative". An aspect, that of community, which is fostered in the renovated USI Startup Centre.


The new web portal of USI Startup Centre:


Il Quotidiano RSI, 28.1.2021 (in Italian)