Huge news! (I’m going to Italy!)

I received some huge news last Monday (April 22). I shared it with a short list of key people in my life right after, and then over the course of the week with some select friends and contacts. On Thursday, I made the public announcement at Kingston Beta, that I had been selected to participate in the TechPeaks People Accelerator in Italy.

I shortly thereafter shared it on Twitter where I had been hinting at a big secret. I also rushed to throw something up on Facebook, because the Gleaner was at the event and it seems their tweets went right to their Facebook page. Below is the email I sent out subsequently to a long list of family, friends and acquaintances (basically, people I thought would either be affected by my going or who would want to know more about what I was going to be doing).


 

So, many people would have heard my news by now. If not, sorry. The last couple days have been beyond hectic.

Here goes:

After applying on a bit of a whim, I received notice on Monday that I was being offered a place in the TechPeaks People Accelerator which would see me spending six month in the Italian Alps.

That’s the short version. The longer version goes like this:

 

What?
TechPeaks is a program of Trento RISE – the organization that connects several of the major actors in ICT research, education and business in the Trentino region – in collaboration with Trentino Sviluppo – the agency set up by the Autonomous Province of Trento to foster the sustainable development of Trentino by taking action and providing services aimed at supporting the growth of business skills and the capacity for innovation. TrentoRISE (Trento Research, Education & Innovation System) merges the ICT branch of the largest research institution in Trento, FBK, with the University of Trento, Department of information Engineering and Computer Science (DISI). they are also a partner of the EIT ICT Labs which is one of the first Knowledge and Innovation Communities set up by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, as an initiative of the European Union. Their mission is to drive European leadership in ICT innovation for economic growth and quality of life.

 

TechPeaks is a long-term initiative, already set up and funded for 4 years with 13M€ (~17M$) of committed capital: One boot camp in 2013, starting in May, and two boot camps each following year. The bootcamp is a 6 month program involving training, coaching, mentoring and support in getting a tech startup created. Of the 619 people that submitted applications (some of those as teams), 72 were selected and the results published on Monday (PDF).

 

Why?
This is an amazing opportunity, not just for the possibility of launching a tech startup but also the in-depth training, and the network of contacts I will be able to build (between the organizers, attendees, coaches, mentors, investors etc.). And if you know me, then you also know that the prospect of living in the gorgeous Trentino region would be irresistable.

 

How?
So the program is funded by the above and they will provide
  • Monthly subsidy/stipend of 500€
  • Accommodation;
  • Meals (under partnership arrangements i.e. discounts);
  • Work facilities, comprising:
    • Desks in open space;
    • Office furniture;
    • Electrical connections;
    • Intranet (LAN/WLAN) and Internet connections;
    • Fax/photocopying machines (shared);
    • Meeting rooms (shared);
    • Air conditioning and heating;
    • Cleaning.
  • Legal assistance for the obtainment of visas and residence permits
Where?
So I mentioned Trento and Trentino. You can look it up as I did but basically Trentino is an autonomous province of Italy, located in the northern part of the country. Its capital is the town of Trento, historically known in English as Trent. The province covers an area of more than 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi), with a total population of about 0.5 million. Trentino is renowned for its mountains, such as the Dolomites, which are part of the Alps. I invite you to take a look at the tourism site for the region, in particular the photogallery.

 

When?
The official program begins on May 30 and runs until November 30 (that’s right, a full 6 months). The accommodations are available from the 27th so essentially I will be travelling in a little over 4 weeks time.

 

So what now?
Well, I sent email to confirm my acceptance of the offer, so I will be sent a formal agreement to sign. I have started the process of renewing my British passport (which had expired) as that would make travel so much easier (the Schengen visa process for Europe is more than painful). Hopefully I can get that back in time as it usually takes 4 weeks. I still need to figure out the airfare part of it (yes, I have to pay that) and some other logistics that come with packing up one’s life for 6 months.

 

Send pictures, post updates, etc.
Yes, yes, yes. I will most definitely be taking a zillion pictures and I will blog the whole experience. Those of you who remember my time in Trinidad some years ago remember the joy I took in sharing all of what I was going through in a new place with a new culture etc. You won’t miss out. Lol!

 

Lastly (if you actually read this far)
I can’t promise to link with everybody I want to before I leave (you know how that goes), but I will likely accept as many offers of a celebratory drink/meal/dessert/movie/outing/visit as I can. Lol! But if you just want to send me off with good wishes, I am accepting those too. So give me a call, send a text, drop me an email, link me on FB. I am doing my best to respond to everyone just be understanding if it takes me a couple days. 🙂

 

So this is me saying I will be saying ‘Ciao!’ in a few weeks. Lol!

 

See ya!

 

Bianca

 

P.S. If you’re going ‘That sounds cool’ or ‘Where do you find stuff like this?’, whether you’re interested for you or a friend, I suggest checking out F6S (http://www.f6s.com/) for a whole bunch of opportunities in tech and startups (accelerators, incubators, competitions etc.).

 

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8 responses to “Huge news! (I’m going to Italy!)”

  1. Mario G Avatar

    This is awesome B! Had no idea you were in Italy doing awesomeness. So bold of you to make the move, but it’s something I’d probably do as well. Wishing you all the best. Will continue to follow the blog.

    ME

    1. Bianca Avatar

      Lol! I figured by now everybody had heard. Whoops! Oh well. Glad you found your way here. Haven’t been blogging much since I got here (combination of busy and poor connection, but working on it).

  2. […] one of the questions I have gotten about my pending trip to Italy is “Are you going to learn Italian?” Clearly those people don’t know me very […]

  3. […] me heading off to Italy for six months, to ‘launch’ what could be one of the most transformational experiences of my life, my […]

  4. Roger Avatar

    Congrats Bianca! Have fun! 🙂

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  6. uncensoredmind Avatar

    wow … this is absolutely huge!!! congratulations!!!! im excited for you (and a tad jealous … but mostly excited)

    im looking forward to your updates and i hope you have an absolutely fantastic time. the experience and opportunity seems quite remarkable

    good luck and congratulations!!!

    1. Bianca Avatar

      Thanks so much! It is going to be an incredible experience.

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