Written by Leonardo Manzari


Within the beautiful setting of the new museum Darwin Dohrn in Naples, on May 26th and 27th 2022, the WestMED National Coordinators and the National Hubs organized the Italian ‘WestMED in my country’ event: “Blue Accelerators & Incubators: the main challenge for Blue Growth in Italy”. With the fundamental support of Blue Italian Growth
Technology Cluster and Federazione del Mare, the endorsement of the Department of Cohesion within the Presidency of Council of Ministers and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this was also recognized as an official EMD in my country 2022 event. It was opened with speeches from the Mayor of Naples, Gaetano Manfredi (former Dean of the University
Federico II) and the Regional Counsellor for Research, Innovation and Start-ups of the Campania Region, Valeria Fascione.

Starting from the structural gap of the Italian ecosystem of the Bue Economy, the idea proposed was the implementation of a national supply chain of support for innovation, new entrepreneurship and employability, based on the alliance among Maritime Clusters, Accelerators&Incubators, Investors&Fund Managers (public&private).
Such a supply chain could facilitate and expedite the search for partners & financial resources by the promoters of a Blue Economy initiative; at the same time national and regional maritime clusters could help mitigate the risks taken by investors and accelerators/incubators, through the support in the identification of the most deserving and really innovative initiatives.

Participants could also avail on international experiences on this topic, thanks to dedicated contributions by involved organizations, through direct speeches (in presence or online). Therefore this two-day event gave the opportunity for
Italian stakeholders to:
• become further acquainted with the WestMED Initiative activities in Italy and in the sub-basi over the last four years;
• become aware of the strategic agreement among the two national maritime clusters (proposed and supported by the WestMED National Coordinators and Italian National Hub) and the excellent results already achieved;
• network and meet, (Italian and foreign) representatives in-person from over 50 clusters, accelerators and incubators, venture capital companies, start-ups, research institutes, EU platforms, EU funds managing authorities.

More than 70 experts and professionals from the whole country joined in-person with an average of 40
participants who followed the event online. To complement the programme, the visitors were treated to a guided tour of the museum by Prof. Ferdinando Boero, who described the 150 years history of Stazione Anton Dohrn and highlighted the significant contribution of the two scientists Dohrn and Darwin to marine zoology and their studies preserved in this museum, as well as drawing attention to the Gulf of Naples, as being the richest marine biodiversity site. All participants who joined in-person, received a free conference kit. As a follow-up, the WestMED National Coordinators and Italian National Hub are already undertaking the steps subsequent to the opportunities that emerged during this event.