Sicily has seen the presence of innovative companies double in its territory in five years: from 359 in 2017 to 700 this year. A goal achieved thanks to the support of private individuals, universities and a diverse and future-oriented entrepreneurial fabric, engaged in fields such as robotics, renewables, sustainable mobility and agritech. Sicily is the protagonist of Regional Startup Ecosystem Report presented this morning during the first edition of Sios22 Sicily Editionorganized by StartupItalia in collaboration with Enel.
Among the sectors of activity of innovative companies, in line with the Italian panorama, is the production of software, where 29.8% of Sicilian startups operate. Followed by scientific research (13.8%), information services (8.1%), manufacturing (7.8%) and the world of commerce (4.8%). There is also a presence (1.7%) of innovative companies engaged in the supply of energy, gas and steam. The data from the Business Register underline other characteristics of the registered Sicilian startups, such as the “production class”: 40.7% have a production value of up to 100 thousand euros; 17.5% operate in a range that goes from 100,000 to 500,000 euros. Only 3% is close to one million euros.
Young people (under 35) are at the helm of 17.8% of Sicilian startups. Women manage 122 startups, but the inclusion of women within teams is still low: only 55 startups (7.8%) have a majority of women within them. Among the cities, only Catania and Palermo manage to enter the top 20 Italian cities in the ranking of the “most innovative”: 13th Catania and 15th Palermo.
During the works of Sios22 Sicily Edition, Enel Green Power (Egp) presented the novelties of the ‘Nexthy Booster Program‘, an acceleration program aimed at early stage startups and SMEs active in the green hydrogen sector. The aim of the program is to support startups in the development, testing and validation of new technologies for the production, storage and transport of green hydrogen.
As the Green Hydrogen Factbook points out, currently globally as many as 99% of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels since the technologies to generate green hydrogen still have high costs. The purpose of the Nexthy Booster Program is to contribute to a trend reversal by offering startups and SMEs support in the development of economically sustainable technologies. For some time EGP has identified Sicily as a strategic pole for the development of green hydrogen. Over the next few years, Enel Green Power’s Hydrogen Industrial Lab will be built right here between the municipalities of Sortino and Carlentini (SR), an innovation laboratory on an industrial scale financed with the Ipcei Hy2Tech initiative to accelerate the implementation of technologies related to development of green hydrogen, essential for the decarbonisation of industrial sectors where direct electrification is not technically efficient or economically viable.
In particular, Enel will provide participants with funding, technical know-how and an international network of contacts, supporting startups on their global growth path and allowing them to establish profitable partnerships with all the Group’s business lines and with the major companies active in this sector.
“In contexts where electrification is not easily feasible, green hydrogen is the key solution for decarbonisation: it has zero emissions and has promising development prospects”, commented Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power, “Here at An industrial laboratory unique in the world will be operational in Catania where we will work together with our partners to allow green hydrogen to become competitive, for the benefit of the projects we will carry out in the world and of the entire ecosystem”.
“If Silicon Valley is the best place for digital, Etna Valley is becoming the ‘Energy Valley’, i.e. the best place for the global energy revolution. We are proud to support this ecosystem and to help accelerate the development of new solutions by fostering the connection between technology suppliers, industrial partners, system integrators, research centers, venture capitalists and startups from all over the world”, said Ernesto Ciorra, Director Innovabilty® by Enel.
“Sios22 continues its tour of the Italy of innovation and for the first time we are in Sicily. It is further confirmation of StartupItalia’s commitment to promoting technologies and business models throughout the country, with the aim to facilitate the meeting between the protagonists of development, especially here in Southern Italy and thus contribute to the creation of an even more favorable environment for transforming startups into solid and competitive companies”, declares Dario Scacchetti, CEO of StartupItalia. “Doing it with a partners like Enel, rooted in the territory and among the main protagonists of innovation and research, represented a unique opportunity to explore open innovation in all its nuances. Sios22 Sicily Edition was also the engine of the first Report on startups Sicilians, a quantitative and qualitative snapshot of young innovative businesses and local entrepreneurs.The study analyzes the evolution of an ecosystem with great potential and I’m sure it will stimulate Sicilian startuppers and young entrepreneurs to join our tech community to share experiences, information and participate in events related to open innovation”.