I started the EIA accelerator program two weeks ago here in Turin with more than 200 amazing people from all around the world – the furthest being from New Zealand and South Africa. The mix of people and ideas is amazing and we’re forming a network with some unique individuals. The days are long but seem to go by very fast, our days start by taking the shuttle bus from the dormitory to the university campus in the center of Turin and end when the janitor kicks us out of the building when he’s locking up at 9 pm. There have been times when some students have been left locked in and have to be rescued after 10 o’clock.
The EIA program here in Turin is sponsored by some amazing companies like FCA, Ferrero and Ferrari, whos´ Flavio Manzoni also gave us a lesson in design.
It hasn´t been all work though as Turin and Italy have some amazing things to offer in the evenings and the weekends.
The final weeks of the EIA programme went by fast. In one of the very first lessons an alumni from a previous year warned the students that during the last weeks of the program we would go with only a few hours of sleep and a lot of espresso, which was luckily provided, and he was right. During the last weeks the teams were technically working around the clock going on coffee and tic tacs.
Luckily there was still some time to escape to Turin in the evenings to enjoy the city as well.
The programme culminated on the final pitch day to the investors. The opportunity and experience you get from pitching to investors from Silicon Valley was amazing and luckily our team got good feedback and interest and was chosen to the final pitching round.
The stress of the day started to show with everybody in the end of the day and the final pitches were less than perfect. In the end our team placed 3rd – but just the chance to pitch to a big audience was amazing.
All and all I can say the European Innovation Academy was a great experience – the people you meet and the network you build will be unilike anything else. I did not expect the EIA to open me to all the opportunities it provided. For every Aalto student I would recommend that if you get the opportunity to participate in EIA, do not hesitate! You will never know where you might end up in :) For our team our next stop might actually be Silicon Valley.
Aalto AVP team Torino, Andreas