Courses, workshops, networking, and much more. Verona Agrifood Innovation Hub has finally opened its doors, launching an intense training activity open to all operators in the agrifood supply chain. The official inauguration of the Hub took place on Monday 22nd May in the Sala Salieri of Veronafiere. A moment of sharing called “Gastro Talks” with the participation of special guest Riccardo Illy, current president of “Il Polo del Gusto“. 

Illy recounted his story and his experience in the family business and later as head of the Group’s sub-holding, which has just announced a turnover of 110 million euros and the creation of a new retail brandStorytelling encompassed his entire personal and professional history, which led him not only to become an entrepreneur but also a successful politician as Mayor of Trieste (from 1993 to 2001), Member of the Italian Parliament, and President of the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia (from 2003 to 2008). Illy’s multi-tasking experience does not end there. He is also a journalist and the author of several books (the most recent of which has been published in English: ‘The Art of Excellent Products‘), Grand Officer of the Italian Republic, and a Royal Warrant Holder of the British Royal House. Among other curiosities, Prestat chocolates, one of its brands, was a favourite of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. A great sportsman and patron of the arts, Riccardo Illy also excels as a ski and sailing instructor. Among many honours, he has also held the position of president of the Verdi Theatre in his city. The public appreciated the narrative of how, in his early twenties, he directed the family business to focus on a unique coffee blend. Illy is therefore not just “Mr Coffee”, but an enlightened entrepreneur, capable of differentiating his target markets (tea, chocolate, wine, and coming soon, savoury) and making counter-cultural choices.

Verona Agrifood Innovation Hub project, supported by the Fondazione Cariverona, UniCredit, Eatable Adventures, the Municipality of Verona, Veronafiere, Confindustria Verona, the University of Verona and Cattolica Assicurazioni, was set up with the aim of promoting excellence and the culture of innovation in the national agrifood industry, contributing to the creation of a strong and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem. The opening speeches were delivered by Filippo Manfredi – General Manager of Fondazione Cariverona – who presented the strategic and territorial objectives of the hub, and Riccardo Fisogni – Vice President and General Manager of Eatable Adventures Italia, one of the leading accelerators in the food tech sector, which manages the structure operationally, and presented the calendar of upcoming activities.

Among the activities on the agenda for the coming months are four annual free training programs, starting with the first course on ‘Doing Business in Agrifood‘ and courses on foodtech innovation, nutrition and food design. The project activities are aimed at everyone, from beginners to experts, to develop and strengthen technical and business skills to add value to their agrifoodtech careers. The training will also be complemented by two practical workshops on Open Innovation and Agile Management, which will provide entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to develop their innovative projects effectively and quickly.

Students, entrepreneurs and experts will also be able to share insights with six special guests who will share their business success story and the critical issues they have experienced first-hand in their role. The calendar will be rounded off by three collaborative activities designed to stimulate the creation and resolution of concrete challenges: Hackaton, Social Challenge and Bootcamp.

For more information (in English) on the Verona Agrifood Hub, visit

From the left: Tommaso Ferrari, Councillor Municipality of Verona, Filippo Manfredi, General Manager of Fondazione Cariverona, Riccardo Illy and Riccardo Fisogni, VP and General Manager of Eatable Adventures Italia