is an innovative programme that promotes international expansion for Italian high potential start-ups in Asia.

The programme is organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau, the China-Italy Chamber, Hawksford, Retail in Asia and Tech Silu and is sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Intesa Sanpaolo and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center and supported by the Italian Consulates General in Hong Kong and in Guangzhou.

The 2019 edition of focused on retail and fashion technology.

6 top-notch and product-ready Italian start-ups were selected and taken to Hong Kong and Guangzhou for one week in the fast-paced Asian business environment. They spent one week in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, meeting incubators, potential investors and business partners. After a thorough selection by a panel of regional investors and expert partners, the judges selected ELIGO as the winner of 2019 The winning start up is entitled to one year of support to expand in the Greater Bay Area. The prize also included a 6-month incubation program and a wide range of administrative, financial and business matching-services.


HOW DOES STARTIT.ASIA WORK? programme consists of four key stages:

(1) The Tender

In this stage, the program is opened to applications from all Italia start-ups, with an interest and potential in expanding their businesses in Asia.

(2) The Selection

After the applications have closed, the most promising start-ups (usually five) are selected from the pool of applicants by a panel of industry experts, composed of representatives from Hawksford, Retail in Asia, Intesa Sanpaolo, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau and the China-Italy Chamber of Commerce.

(3) Week

The selected start-ups arrive in Hong Kong & Guangzhou for an immersion week program. This includes investor forums where the start-ups have the opportunity to present their pitches and receive feedback before the final presentation, as well as tours of local innovators in the relevant industries. The participants also attend events organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce with unparalleled networking potential, where they could meet potential investors and advisors.

(4) The Final Selection

Each start-up presents a final pitch to a judging panel of regional investors and partners, and the winning start-up will receive a year of support to continue growing their business in Asia. This will include a 6-month incubation program and a range of financial and business matching services in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.




Damiano Avellino, COO – Chief Operating Officer, Orthoponics (Edition 2018) was an incredible way to discover and understand the amazing opportunities of the Chinese market. We built valuable connections and we are planning to come back soon in Hong Kong. I encourage everyone that has a great idea to participate in the program since it can really boost the growth of any startup.

Fabio Penzo, Co-Founder & CEO, Floome (Edition 2018)

Thanks to and the Chamber's Team I was able to understand the Chinese business culture at a glance while pitching my successful startup company Floome. Thanks to the meetings in Hong Kong I was able to grow my business and eventually find a buyer for part of the company's assets. I totally suggest the experience.

Giuseppe Catella, CVO & Founder, ELIGO (Edition 2019) was a fantastic opportunity and I met some incredible start-up colleagues, and we’ve even started to discuss possible partnerships with them. I met some potential investors thanks to the Italian Chamber of Commerce, and I got some useful feedback from Intesa SanPaolo and the advisors; but mostly it was an immersive, educational experience.

Mattia Crespi, CEO & Founder, Qbit Technologies (Edition 2019)

I would absolutely recommend this programme because Hong Kong and the Chinese market are incredibly interesting and the team was in Hong Kong was excellent at organizing great opportunities for the start-ups to network, find potential investors and get to know the local market.


  • Intesa Sanpaolo
  • Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center
  • Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs


  • Consulate General of Italy in Canton
  • Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong


  • The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau
  • China-Italy Chamber of Commerce
  • Retail in Asia
  • Hawksford
  • Tech Silu

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