Make a Cube³ is a joint venture between Avanzi (80%) and Make a Change (20%). Avanzi is a leading think tank and consulting firm working on sustainable development issues since its foundation, in 1997. Make a Change is an Italian association dedicated to the promotion of social business. The two shareholders have incorporated Make a Cube³ as the first low profit company, adapting to the Italian law the concept of community interest companies and B Corps. Limitations in the return on investment, a cap to the top management salary and other important features have been introduced, voluntarily and without any tax advantage, in the statute.
Established in late 2011, Make a Cube³ is the first private incubator in Italy dedicated to social and environmental innovation. Make a Cube³ provides comprehensive advisory to start-ups that show a sound, sustainable and scalable/replicable business model, with high potential for creating social and environmental value through their core business. Thus, the company aims at responsibly generating social and environmental impact, by assisting early stage ventures that show a high potential of creating positive social and/or environmental value, through leverage of innovative models and solutions.
Activity and experience
Make a Cube itself adopts the lean and flat organizational model it also implements on the start-ups it works with. Therefore, there is a Board of Directors, composed of the President and three to eight members elected by the general Assembly. The statute provides some measures to identify a sound “checks and balances” system, such as clear distinction between the CEO and the president and a member appointed by the minority shareholder. The shareholders also decided to appoint an Expert Committee with advisory power in order to independently assess the incubator overall activity and mid-term strategy. Up to now the Committee is composed by 18 recognized Italian and European experts in the field of social innovation, international cooperation and development, venture capital, impact investing, NGOs, no-profit organizations, start-up ecosystem, social entrepreneurships.
At Make a Cube³ we apply a stage-gate roadmap for incubation. First we select ideas and ventures by evaluating their overall quality, degree of eco and social innovation, adaptation to market and environment conditions, entrepreneurial mindset and motivation, capabilities and networks. Core incubation starts with the business plan review and development, in order to build a robust financial and operational model, and continues with all the needed strategic and day-to-day assistance to transform a good idea into a successful and sustainable venture. Prototyping and market tests are carried out in this phase. The typical Make a Cube³ incubation process ends after 6-9 months, when the start-up is ready to access the market, including capital markets. During this period, we guide the startup through a management support process, addressed to entrepreneurial projects at early stage, able to transform innovative ideas into successful ventures. The aim of the service is to endow start-uppers with all competencies, tools, knowledge needed to individually set up and develop their businesses. The approach of Make a Cube³ is featured by:
- clear definition of the roles between team and tutor;
- fully customization of the education contents in order to satisfy the needs and shortfalls of the team
- enhancing focus on individuals as entrepreneurs, including a specific lookout at the psychological and emotional aspects;
- continuous exchange of information, not only between the team and Ma3, but also among the tutors.
During the process, under the guide and control of Make a Cube³ tutors, the team is asked to produce several deliverables such as SWOT analysis, concept, budget, timesheet and GANNT, brief for creative agencies, network radar and competencies map. Moreover, the team help start-uppers to identify, select and apply for calls for proposal, at the national and European level. In addition, the service includes the use of Make a Cube³ network in order to provide both vertical expertise on specific activities (i.e. Social media marketing, e-commerce, etc.) and to facilitate the selection of trusted suppliers, partners, investors. At the end of the process, the teams remain into the network of Make a Cube³ and they are periodically updated on business and funding opportunities, other than being involved as testimonials or tutors in other programs.
Thanks to the network and experience of the two founding organizations, Make a Cube³ is able to involve on specific dossiers experts with a wide range of expertise from renewable energy, to welfare, from social inclusion to urban regeneration and local development, according to the needs of the entrepreneurs. In 2015 we have been granted by an Erasmus+ project (applicant Eurocrea Merchant) for which we are organizing the dissemination plan testing a structure base on the business model canvas.
By now, the incubation team is composed of :
Matteo Bartolomeo, holds a degree in Economics and a Master in environmental Policy, has nearly 25 years of experience in social innovation and sustainable development. After 8 years at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (a leading energy and environmental economics think tank), he has co-founded Avanzi, where he has been in different periods chair, CEO, programme and strategy director. A art from being member of the board at Avanzi, he is now CEO of a Avanzi’s incubator and business accelerator (Make a Cube) dedicated to social, environmental and cultural start up. As part of this activity, Matteo leads incubation programmes, engages stakeholders and key partners for the startups under incubation. He is also executive President at OXA Impresa Sociale, a business dedicated to the development of major project in the area of art, culture, creativity, entrepreneurship and urban regeneration. He is working at the startup of an impact fund. He has been member of the board of WWF Italy, member of the Comité de Direction of Vigeo SA (France), member of the board of Siri Group (CH) and other organisations dedicated to social innovation and justice. He has been teaching Public Economics at Politecnico di Milano for 8 years. Today, his main areas of activities are welfare, social inclusion, fight against poverty, culture, urban regeneration, impact finance
Stefano Barazzetta is Senior Manager at Make a Cube, where he is involved in the structuring and fundraising of ‘Make a Cube Social Ventures’, an impact fund investing in Italian social enterprises. Besides working on the fund, Stefano is the Project Manager of an EU-funded project aimed at training social entrepreneurs to address the issues of immigration and human trafficking. Before joining Make a Cube, Stefano was Investment Manager at Opes Impact Fund, an impact fund targeting social enterprises based in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and India. Previously he was Senior Associate at I.G. Partners, a consulting/M&A boutique advising Ambienta (one of the largest European private equity funds active in the environmental sector). In the first years of his career Stefano was Project Manager for an Italian NGO in Sri Lanka, where he coordinated a post-Tsunami reconstruction project. He has also worked in AMAT as Project Officer, elaborating mathematical models focusing on the forecast of air pollution in the City of Milan. Stefano holds a degree in Environmental Engineering from the Polytechnic of Milan and an MBA cum laude from MIP School of Management (Milan).
Matteo Boccia, Senior Consultant. Graduated in Management Engineering with specialization in finance at Politecnico di Milano, with a post-grade Master double degree (Switzerland-Italy) in Economics and International Politics at the USI in Lugano and ASERI Catholic University of Milan. In June 2011, he joined as researcher and (than) programme officer the Italian Social Investment Forum, a non-profit association whose mission is the promotion of social responsibility in the practice of the financial investment. He is part of Make a Cube team, where he follows the process of incubation and business development for profit and non-profit companies with high social and environmental value, with a specific knowledge on operations, business model innovation and economic/financial planning.
Alberto Muscari Tomajoli is Junior Consultant for pre-incubation and incubation processes of innovative enterprises with high environmental, social and cultural value at Make a Cube. He performs back-office activities of acquired projects and provides direct support to startup team incorporated and to be incorporated.
He has been responsible for managing logistics and organization of different process of incubation, especially in management of meetings, lectures, events offering support and direct assistance to the team. He is skilled in using basic techniques of Product Service System Design, business modelling, digital marketing and website management (WordPress). Bachelor degree in Business Administration, after earning a MSc degree in Economics, Economic and Social Discipline, spent a period working abroad in a non-profit organization practicing with European projects.
He works in this field following projects about social innovation, migrants and refugees in Make a Cube where he’s also responsible of the evaluation process and selection of starups.