European Open Source: Orvieto looks at creating an open source hub

Reading trackbacks to my blog post “about mapping open source into your business model” I was captured by Dana Blankehorn‘s post, and not just because he kindly reported that my blog post read like an academic paper.

Dana in fact recommends Europeans to find their way towards successful entrepreneurship, maybe following the Advanced Technology Development Center path, bringing together academic institutions, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

First Open Source StepFirst open source Steps by ANDI2..

I am a firm believer in the importance of entrepeneurial ecosystems, but public administrations are also part of equation, at least on this side of the pond. I just got back from the Openmind 2008 conference, and as far as I could see public administrations are important open source customers. Think of France if in doubt, think of Germany, of Europe.

Which are the ingredients to make a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem?

The availability of financial support instruments is one of them, but start-ups need also experienced entrepreneurs willing to advice them, last but not least early adopters ready to try and buy. Local universities have a role, and besides training students on the basics should provide students also with business training courses, as well educating them to how to get out the best from open source. Learn how to select and reuse open source code or how to work with communities, should also be part of students’ education.

Talking with representatives of Orvieto’s public administration, one year ago I found them interested in making Orvieto an entrepreneurial open source hub. As a first result few days ago the “Centro Studi Città di Orvieto” – a center for higher education and research - hosted a one day event to present a master course on FOSS systems and tools for the Information and Communication Society.

The master course is part of a broader picture, in which entrepreneurs, large enterprises and local government institutions are going to create a permanent network to achieve economic growth getting advantage of free software availability. Bringing together local IT firms and American companies to collaborate is a feasible goal, especially keeping in mind the emerging importance to live in a very hybrid world (just think of the many open source conundrums).

Every long trip starts with a first step.

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