Fulbright - BEST: the most ambitious exchange program with the United States
Nine months in the United States to complete a learning and working experience at a Sylicon Valley start up
"Fulbright Best is without doubt, together with the classical Fulbright Scholarship (active in 155 countries, and that has sent more than 30,000 people from all over the world to complete a program of study in the United States,) the most ambitious exchange program with the United States.
Elizabeth Robinson, forty years of age and a pension already secured, member of the Steering Committee of Fulbright has no doubts "It is no longer a pilot, this year the Fulbright Best has become a real program. A project that has started in Italy and that now many other countries wish to adopt. "
The program allows students in possession of a five-years degree or equivalent and an innovative project for a start-up to go for nine months to the United States to complete a learning experience but also to work at a Silicon Valley start-up and learn how to do business before returning to Italy.
"Up to now, we have already sent to the U.S. more than 50 students. 26 are the companies that they have founded upon their arrival in Italy after the experience. The others have found good jobs in the private sector too. In short, an amazing result, "says Robinson, adding" for the next few years we plan to expand even accepting financial aid from private companies. "
The scholarship Fulbright Best is in fact not just an incentive. The winner is given a grant of $ 35,000 to be used for a course in entrepreneurship or to be combined with other grants or contributions.
In the opinion of Mrs. Robinson, since the Italian government has drawn attention to the world of start-ups and its strategic importance for a country's economic recovery and employment (in the near future, according to Robinson, more than 70 percent of the new jobs will come from start-ups) good initiatives have been taken to create a positive ecosystem for start-ups.
"Now we have created the assembly line. Fulbright Best is at the beginning of it because it is a program focused on the person that aims to give a basic entrepreneurial experience. Other projects, such as Mind the Bridge, come after and act as incubators, but it is essential for the chain to start with the person. For a company to succeed, in Italy as in America, you must first learn the management tools and the skills that you need to be an entrepreneur."
Robinson is positive regarding Italy, though the country is still many steps behind the United States. " While in America this segment is overcrowded, here you can be one of the few. The scarcity value can also be seen as an opportunity. "