Remarks by DCM Kelly Degnan at the BEST Program at Radio Dimensione Suono

June 25, 2018

(As prepared for delivery)

Honored Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to join you today at the Radio Dimensione Suono headquarters to celebrate the Business Exchange and Student Training program, or BEST, as we call it.

I would like to begin by thanking our host this evening, Mr. Montefusco and Radio Dimensione Suono (RDS), whose cooperation in providing a communication campaign using radio and social media was vital to the recruitment process.

I would also like to thank Fernando Napolitano for his continued commitment to BEST, Paola Sartorio and the Fulbright Commission for the careful stewardship of the program from the start, and Domenico Arcuri and Invitalia for successfully leading the BEST program.

Since its inception back in 2007, the program has been steadily growing, thanks to the support of many important sponsors, some of whom have joined us for today’s event.

The BEST program continues to create a professional environment for aspiring young entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to succeed in their respective fields. The BEST initiative has successfully immersed young Italians in a program that combines academic education and professional start-up experience in Silicon Valley.

One of the highlights of the BEST program creates an environment for innovation and risk-taking to achieve concrete results. Venture capital and risk-taking are the backbones of economic growth.   We want to empower younger generations to transform their ideas into products that will be successful in the global market.

I firmly believe that start-ups are one of the strongest drivers of global job creation, with an important impact on economic growth and political stability.

Entrepreneurship inspires innovation and achievement and reinforces the value of free markets and open trading systems.

Today, we are launching a new group of BEST grantees whose innovative projects range from robotics to e-learning platforms. We are proud to support these young individuals’ future endeavors.

Shortly, we will hear from well-established CEOs in a roundtable discussion, during which they will highlight the benefits of innovation in the Italian industrial system. We will learn critical information for start-up companies to expand in ever-changing market.

Thank you very much again for your very cordial welcome and kind attention. And my congratulations to today’s award recipients, who are just the leaders Italy needs to bring energy, competitiveness, and growth to the economy and society as a whole.

Thank you, and have a great evening.