Talent Garden, an Italian co-working network, goes to New York. “Congratulations! You’ve been selected!” states the email that announced the good news after six months of hard work to reach this goal. The City of New York chose the Italian Talent Garden project as one of the 5 finalists in the most innovative international ideas category for the Take the HELM2.0 prize. The competition is part of a territorial requalification initiative.
The project was created by 23-year-old Davide Dattoli in 2011. “The one in Brescia, the Passion Working Space, is the most beautiful among all of the open ones, but I’m pleased also for the other seven”, stated the founder at Startup Weekend Rome, one of the events organized by Talent Garden. Who knows whether the one in New York will surpass it in beauty or will the rule stick that “the first love will never be forgotten”. In fact, the Brescia co-working location was the very first one to be opened.
“New York is a challenge for me, I want to try what seems impossible”, affirmed Davide, having well in mind that the co-working model he uses has its roots precisely in the United States. It is an anomaly and was practically unforeseeable that an Italian company would be chosen to bring back shared working spaces to its country of conception.
He will fly to the Big Apple to make his project grow, or, better, “explode”. In less than two years, Talent Garden has become one of the main players in Italian innovation, now including 500 talented “inhabitants” in 7 different cities (Brescia, Milan, Genoa, Pisa, Padua, Turin, Bergamo). Others will soon be added to this talented group, even some who will now come from across borders, literally across oceans.
“We are not escaping from Italy, but after the successes obtained in our homeland we wanted to export our model abroad. We are happy that the most famous city in the world has decided to import our philosophy: contamination as creator of cultural and economic values”. In fact, on Talent Garden’s website this philosophy is explained very well, using a garden as metaphor. “In a garden the various plants germinate and grow all together creating a marvelous environment, where all of the elements collaborate and compete at the same time, they contaminate each other creating, from what started as a nice garden, a true ecosystem”.
The winners will be chosen on November 21st at the headquarters of Goldman Sachs. Talent Garden is the only Italian representative among those selected from over 300 candidates. The prestigious jury includes high caliber personalities like Alicia Glen, Goldman Sachs, Rachel Haot, CDO City of New York, Richard Parsons, former Chairman Citigroup, David Tisch,Techstars NYC, Alexis Ohanian, Reddit. The winners will receive 250,000 Dollars and institutional support.
Simultaneously, a crowdfunding campaign begins on Indiegogo, to collect the part of remaining funds needed to open (about 50,000 Dollars), which will happen thanks to 20 other digital communities from all over the world. The new location will become the new meeting point for Italian and international startups in New York, where they will find people capable of helping them enter into the American ecosystem.
“The American startups are often closed within the system of the United States and they find the process of internationalization to be hard. Just as international actors find it hard to emerge in the U.S.. We want to be the ecosystem to make it possible, we want to be a bridge, an aid, a mechanism to render this all simpler. From both sides”, explains Dattoli.
Everybody dreams of Silicon Valley, San Francisco, why did you aim for New York? “San Francisco is already saturated. There is no longer innovation. A change of space is needed and we have found the new great rival: New York City”.
So, now what do you do? You fly to New York for the prize, and then what? “And then we look for the funds necessary to open and we open. In the meantime, we are already receiving proposals from all over the world, it seems like everybody wants us”. Who wants you? “They have contacted us from 23 cities, from all over the globe. Examples? Paraguay, San Paolo, London. But also from Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Iraq… We must evaluate them well, but some beautiful scenarios are opening up before us”.
Will Passion Working Space in Brescia still be the most beautiful place for Talent Garden in a few years to come?
Read about the fascinating story of Talent Garden at CheFuturo.