After more than a year of hard work, the Fondazione Agire – which currently manages the Ticino Innovation Park (Switzerland Innovation Park Ticino) – is pleased to announce that the Ticino State Council has approved – following the favourable opinion of the Department of Finance and Economy -financial support by non-repayable funds for the consolidation and development of the Lifestyle Tech competence center (LTCC), one of the two competence centers currently operating and recognised by the Park, together with the Swiss Drone Base Camp based at the Riviera airport. It should be noted that a third center is currently being defined in Bellinzona and will be linked to the theme of life sciences.
This contribution of up to CHF 1 million is granted based on the model called matching funds, where the state and the private sector jointly support innovative companies. In this sense, the part of the investment supported by the canton must be covered by an investment of equal or greater size by the partner companies of the Lifestyle Tech Competence Center. In this way, the state becomesan activator of private investment in innovation. Investment by members of the Lifestyle Tech Association in research and development projects has already exceeded one and a half million swiss francs since its establishment, and a budget of four million is expected over the next five years. The Association boasts among its members local, national, and international companies such as: Accenture, AntaresVision, Città di Lugano, Barilla, Bally, Dagorà Lifestyle Innovation Hub, Guess, Hyphen Group, Lavazza, Loomish, Moresi.com, Scuola Universitaria Professionale Della Svizzera Italiana, UBS, Università della Svizzera Italiana.
On the basis of this model, the center will also be able to access further aid of this kind in the future, provided that new investments are also made by the private individuals involved.
In further support of this important initiative, the City of Lugano is also finalising a message for the City Council to support the relocation and growth of the Lifestyle Tech Competence Center in Lugano. The City Council envisages a five-year commitment of two hundred and fifty thousand francs a pro year to finance the LTCC’s operational offices, research laboratories, co-creation areas, training rooms and networking spaces. The Lifestyle Tech Competence Center is thus projected to move to the Lugano area in the months to come.
The SIP-TI management, based on these prerogatives, has also decided to locate its future operational spaces at this new LTCC site, as an intermediate solution, while waiting for the official spaces dedicated to the headquarters within the future Nuovo Quartiere Officine in Bellinzona (SBB Workshops District)) to be ready. It must be said that in the years to come, the Park’s layout will be in constant evolution, while still following a precise strategic logic that has seen, since its inception, the dislocation of spaces and centers of competence throughout the territory. Over the next year, the park’s management will take shape with the planned recruitment of its own staff, and it will therefore be essential to give space to the first headquarters, which will thus be able to detach itself physically from Fondazione Agire, to cultivate its own identity as it goes along. In this regard, an issue that is very much on the minds of the current management, a few months ago we commissioned a study from the SUPSI design institute, to develop an identity concept for the park and its future developments, precisely with the aim of getting all the activities off the ground with a strong shared identity, so as to position the park clearly and with a strong impact on a national and international level in the panorama of technology parks.
This is followed by the comments of Luca Bolzani president of Fondazione Agire, Filippo Lombardimunicipal councillor of the City of Lugano and LTCC board member, Carlo Terreni president of Lifestyle Tech Competence Center and partner of Loomish M&A, who spoke at today’s press conference:
“The Ticino Innovation Park, in its configuration as proposed by Fondazione Agire in the candidacy dossier submitted to and approved by Switzerland Innovation, envisages a mosaic of thematic competence centers, conceived as associations under private law between academies, companies and research bodies. Each is to act as an open innovation arena for developing projects of common interest to the participating companies. As Fondazione Agire we are delighted, after much work and commitment, to see the first public contribution in the form of matching funds materialize for one of the competence centers of the Switzerland Innovation Park Ticino. The implications of developing a technology park, also in terms of funding, inevitably bring with them innovative developments in the management of public funds and changes in the political will to create innovation in the region, a will that is already very concrete and present within our Department of Finance and Economy.
The achievement of this first objective bodes well for the future of the Park and for the competence centers that make up the Park’s framework to date: the Drone Competence Center in Lodrino and the Life Sciences Competence Center in Bellinzona, as well as, of course, the Lifestyle Tech Competence Center, which has just activated its first million matching-funds,” says Luca Bolzani, President of the Fondazione AGIRE.
“The City’s development guidelines indicate a clear desire to support the creation of an international reference center in Lugano in the Lifestyle Tech sphere, focusing on scientific research activities and the attraction of international investments. It is for this reason that the City Council, after having joined the Association, approved an agreement with it on
1 December last year, aimed at supporting promotional activities and the organisation of international conferences, first and foremost the Lifestyle Innovation Day on 12 and 13 March in Lugano, where more than seven hundred managers from all over Europe are expected to attend. Moreover,” adds Lombardi, “in the light of recent positive developments, the City intends to extend its support to the association in order to guarantee the competence center and the Dagorà Lifestyle Innovation Hub’s ideal location in Lugano with a focus on training, co-creation, aggregation and research laboratory spaces. ”
“I can only express my gratitude for the constant cooperation and trust shown by the institutions DFE, Fondazione AGIRE and the City of Lugano in all these years of intense and fertile economic promotion activity. Last year, we raised over one and a half million francs. These resources were collected from foreign and national companies and invested in Ticino in research and development projects, realised thanks to the extraordinary skills of USI and SUPSI. We have also been able to attract the headquarters of three multinational companies that have created over one hundred skilled jobs for residents.
The important contribution announced today by the Canton, and the hoped-for future support of the City of Lugano, will enable us to further consolidate our operational structure, develop our research laboratories, and attract major new investments and talent.”
The president continues: “Let me thank all our Associates who, in addition to supporting the Association’s activities financially, invest time (often beyond their working hours), energy and personal relationships to support the development of our centre of expertise. A special thanks go to our director and the exceptional LTCC team who overcome the many difficult moments typical of any ‘start-up’ with determination and optimism and work with professionalism and enthusiasm in our ambitious mission: to make Ticino a centre of excellence in technological innovation recognised at European level”.