The BEST Program (Business Exchange and Student Training) is a bilateral program between Italy-USA, creating future innovation business leaders.

The idea is very simple, to create future leaders who understand how things work on the business and technology sides. Nurture the innovation into well-rounded corporate leaders.

The BEST talents have been carefully chosen to come to the hub of innovation in Silicon Valley and learn about the key functions and best practices for 6 months. Recently, the Graduation Ceremony was held for the Italian Fulbright BEST Scholars here in San Francisco.

Participants got the chance to intern with some of the top startups, investors and ecosystem players in the Bay Area such as Plug and Play Tech Center, Streetbeat, Silicon Foundry, StartX., and Peaxy, Inc.

The program is spread over 6 months and divided into two essential parts. 

Phase one is a month-long Startup School program, with hands-on courses on lean startup methodology and open innovation. Hosted by Mind the Bridge and involving local professionals, entrepreneurs, and Stanford and UC Berkeley professors. During the program, private 2-hour sessions are provided to participants with local high-caliber innovation professionals and entrepreneurs. And lastly, there are weekly sessions with the Mind the Bridge program managers to check that learning objectives are being met by the participants and that the internships are running smoothly.

Then, the participants embark on a 5 month part-time internship in Silicon Valley tech companies, startups, accelerators, or EU innovation outposts in the region.

At the end of the BEST program, the participants gain a new perspective on  business, not just as innovators but as corporate managers too. The program provides them with unlimited opportunities to make connections with key industry professionals and learn how things work in Silicon Valley. After completing this once in a lifetime opportunity , participants go away with skills that will ultimately contribute to the economic growth and technological development of Italy.