Matteo Consonni, Co-founder of NOC & EYA-winner. Political Science and Public Administration graduate focussing on the interface between public authority and the market.
You won the European Youth Award 2015 with your web platform NOC. What has happened in your life and career since then?
EYA has been for us an amazing experience to get in touch with a big and international family of people with the same aim of creating value for themselves and for our society. It has been a great inspiration during and after the event. Since then I’m still working in innovation and entrepreneurship. Now I’m coordinating the Venture Academy which is the pre-incubation programme for startups by Centre for Innovation Leiden University and with my company, Rose, supporting the growth of many entrepreneurial projects with an impact on society. Also, I’m working together with Thierry who I met at EYA 2015 in Graz as one of the jury members.
Can you tell us something about the latest projects you are working on?
Something I’m very proud of is the Venture Academy, the pre-incubation programme at Centre for Innovation Leiden University. I believe we offer a great opportunity to all students in The Hague to take part to a nice programme and a great experience where they get inspired by amazing speakers and they learn skills and methods on how to successfully build their startup. But it is much more than that; every semester I see many students with one thing in common: the audacity to risk, the will of learning by doing, failing and not just be a small drop in the ocean but making use of their passions to create value for themselves and for the people around them. Entrepreneurship is an attitude and I believe it should play a bigger role in students education. Also, during the programme we work together with some people in the EYA network like Paul Hughes.
You moved from Italy to the Netherlands. Are you planning to stay there? Are you missing Italy from time to time?
Of course I definitely miss Italy 🙂 I have to say that luckily I get the chance of coming back often for some project I’m running in Milan. I do enjoy living in the Netherlands as well. The place I live is a consequence of where I find a spot where I can do what I like and the way I like it. In this moment Amsterdam and the Netherlands is the place for this. In the future, who knows.
Could you mention some of your personal milestones?
Last September I started in Milan the first Italian chapter of Awesome Foundation. That’s for me something really cool and that I’m proud of. I like the fact that I’m making use of the experience I’m doing abroad to bring something back to my city.
What would you wish for if you had two wishes for free – one personal wish and one for the European start-up scene?
My wish for the European start-up scene is to see soon some big innovation taking place and scaling up. I don’t speak about IT services, apps or websites. More something like the electric revolution, something is gonna positively affect the world and change our lives in better. I believe we have a lot of great human capital in Europe. Art, history, tradition, creativity. We need to exploit these and be ready to risk more. I don’t feel that regulations and institutions are fully supportive in that. There should be more programmes supporting interdisciplinarity and the growth of people based on self consciousness. Also, access to public funding for instance should be more accessible.
What recommendations would you give young people and entrepreneurs?
Our time in this world is not infinite (I know, it sounds bad but unfortunately is true), let’s try to make the best out of it. For me this means do what I like with people I like, have a lot of fun and leave a big sign that will stay. That’s the challenge I like most to keep myself busy with.