Italy Starts 2022 Announces Winning Team

On June 22, Italy Starts 2022 selected the best Final Presentation of an entrepreneurial idea to resolve a perceived challenge to the environment. Teams of 4-7 high school students (Mentees) worked under the guidance of an undergraduate student (Mentor) during the 5-week program. 98 Mentees from 15 Italian high schools in 17 cities were guided by 19 Mentors from 6 American universities including JCU. 18 teams competed in this year’s annual competition.

Italy Starts encourages cross-cultural learning through remote and in-person teamwork. Developing the skills necessary to achieve team objectives in an intercultural context are key outcomes of the program. Teams formulate proposals for solutions to perceived problems regarding the environment and compete for the best idea in a 3-minute presentation.

500 Euro in the form of gift vouchers, is awarded to Team 9 “Re-Waste,” a startup idea to reduce waste in cities, beginning with Rome. The team was composed of students from IIS “Blaise Pascal,” Pomezia (RM): Valerio Suadoni, Chiara Taglienti, Alessandro Valeri, and Rachele Vezzoso. Their Team Mentor was William Stapp from John Cabot University.


Urban Improvement:
Team 4 “AP Challengers,” a startup idea to use an App to create incentives for virtuous recycling action. The team was composed of students from IIS “Blaise Pascal,” Pomezia (RM): Giuseppe Abbatantuono, Gianluca Baglioni, Sara Bassetti, Rossana Berini, and Flavio Di Giovannantonio. Their Team Mentors were Jake Huxhold, Kansas University, and Veronika Mezhlumyan, from the American University of Armenia.

Responsible Consumption:
Team 7 “Slow Fashion,” a startup idea to encourage re-purposing of clothing through an instructional App. The team was composed of students from IIS “Blaise Pascal,” Pomezia (RM): Elena Fatucci, Stefania Lo Proto, Elisa Mari, Chiara Minghella, and Martina Moneta. Their Team Mentor was Rafael Melkonyan from the American University of Armenia.

New Product Development:
Team 3 “Boxers,” a startup idea to reduce waste through eco-sustainable packaging. The team was composed of students from four high schools: from Convitto Nazionale “Marco Foscarini” of Venice, Leonardo Benzoni, Elia Martinelli, and Nicolas Raimundo; from Liceo Scientifico Statale “Giovanni Keplero,” Rome, Mattia De Filippi, from Liceo Scientifico Statale “Isacco Newton,” Rome, Maria Cecilia Tardani, and from Liceo Scientifico Statale “Stanislao Cannizzaro,” Rome, Ilaria Maxian. Their Team Mentors were Rima Sayadyan from the American University of Armenia and Nina Chhor from Rutgers University.

Best Creativity, Visuals, and Presentation:
Team 12 “MyBee,” a startup idea for e-commerce. The team was composed of students at Liceo Classico Statale “G. Carducci,” Milan: Ludovica D’Andrea, Alessia De Bartolomeo, Irma Di Capua, Vittoria Granatiero, Andrea Meazza, and Veronica Varisco. Their Team Mentor was Genesis Granda-Ordonez from Rutgers University Business School.


We would like to give special thanks to two of our Mentors who stepped in to assist other teams when unavoidable circumstances found two teams without a Mentor. Meghedi Baghoomian, from the American University of Armenia, and Connor Sullivan, from Rutgers University Business School, demonstrated exceptional leadership and professionality in their contribution to a collaborative community. Meghedi was also an Italy Starts 2021 Mentor, and we were happy to welcome her back this year.

Congratulations to all participants for their work in this challenging program!

Participating high schools:
Convitto Nazionale Marco Foscarini di Venezia
IIS “Blaise Pascal,” Pomezia (RM)
Istituto Omnicomprensivo di Orte (VT)
Liceo Classico Linguistico “Immanuel Kant,” Roma
Liceo Classico Pilo Albertelli, Roma
Liceo Classico Statale “G. Carducci,” Milano
Liceo Ginnasio Statale Classico Benedetto da Norcia, Roma
Liceo Scientifico “Ettore Majorana,” Roma
Liceo Scientifico F. Sbordone, Napoli
Liceo Scientifico Statale “Farnesina,” Roma
Liceo Scientifico Statale “Giovanni Keplero,” Roma
Liceo Scientifico Statale “Isacco Newton,” Roma
Liceo Scientifico Statale “Luigi Siciliani” di Catanzaro
Liceo Vito Volterra, Ciampino (RM)
Liceo Scientifico Statale Stanislao Cannizzaro, Roma

Participating Universities:
American University of Armenia
John Cabot University
Kansas University
Northeastern University
Rutgers University Business School
Rutgers University
University of Denver
University of Massachusetts at Boston


Professor David Shaffer
David joined Villanova University in August 1999. He is an associate professor of finance at the Villanova School of Business and from 2007 to 2019 was the Chair of the Department of Finance. He has regularly taught courses in Derivatives, Fixed Income, and Corporate Finance in Villanova’s undergraduate, graduate, and Executive Education programs. His area of research is Derivatives. David has had the great pleasure of teaching at John Cabot University during the Summer semesters since 2010.

Professor Tanja Lanza
Tanja is an entrepreneur and a senior strategy consultant at the European Institute of Innovation for Sustainability where she designs innovative strategies for organizations and individuals. She’s teaching as adjunct professor at John Cabot University, Politecnico di Milano School of Management, American University. Her main interest is making the environment part of the marketing and business conversations of the 21st Century.

Professor Anna Fiorentino
Anna has two professional passions: marketing and education. Both focus on a deep understanding of people and meeting their needs. As a marketing and sales professional, she has 20 years of experience in consumer marketing, account management, and business development. A leader of advanced “big data” projects for understanding customers and AI applied to digital communication, Anna also has more than 8 years of learning and teaching/facilitation experience for both executives and undergraduates, in global organizations and international academic institutions. She has a proven track record in designing and implementing leadership development and learning programs.