INNOVATE™ Milan

The Lombardy Region plays a role of primary importance in the national and international economic context and Milan in particular is experiencing a phase of economic, artistic, cultural, and urban renewal.

Milan, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city has a population of about 1.4 million, while its metropolitan city has 3.26 million inhabitants. Its continuously built-up urban area, which stretches well beyond the boundaries of the administrative metropolitan city and into Switzerland, is the fourth largest in the EU with 5.27 million inhabitants. According to national sources, the population within the wider Milan metropolitan area (also known as Greater Milan) is estimated between 8.2 million and 12.5 million, making it the largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the largest in the EU.

Milan is considered a leading alpha global city, with strengths in the fields of artcommercedesigneducationentertainmentfashionfinancehealthcaremediaservicesresearch, and tourism. Its business district hosts Italy’s stock exchange (ItalianBorsa Italiana), and the headquarters of national and international banks and companies. Milan is the wealthiest city in Italy in terms of GDP, it has the third-largest economy among EU cities after Paris and Madrid, and is the wealthiest among EU non-capital cities. Milan is viewed along with Turin as the southernmost part of the Blue Banana urban development corridor (also known as the “European Megalopolis”), and one of the Four Motors for Europe.

The city has been recognized as one of the world’s four fashion capitals (the others being LondonNew York, and Paris) thanks to several international events and fairs, including Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, which are currently among the world’s biggest in terms of revenue, visitors and growth. It hosted the Universal Exposition in 1906 and 2015. The city hosts numerous cultural institutions, academies, and universities, with 11% of the national total of enrolled students. Milan received 10 million visitors in 2018, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from China, the United States, France, and Germany. The tourists are attracted by Milan’s museums and art galleries that include some of the most important collections in the world, including major works by Leonardo da Vinci. The city is served by many luxury hotels and is the fifth-most starred in the world by Michelin Guide. Milan is also home to two of Europe’s most successful football teams, A.C. Milan and Inter Milan, and one of Europe’s main basketball teams, Olimpia Milano. Milan will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time in 2026, together with Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Milan is a Cluster of Innovation (COI): twelve universities and higher education institutions and eighty research centers make this city a place of choice for domestic and international students. Its 45,000 foreign students find a wide range of excellent education opportunities with many programs in English. Milan is the first destination for talents that come back to Italy, and thousands of young dynamic people arrive every year to study, find a job or establish a startup. Indeed, the number of incubators, accelerators, fab-labs, and co-working spaces puts the capital of Lombardy in the world league. The majority of Italian innovative start-ups operate in Milan and most of them are financed by the venture or corporate capital. No wonder Milan is one of the most highly sought among graduate employers city in the EU (after London and Paris) and the 46th in the world (QS Best City for students 2022 ranking).[1]

With a strategic position Milan, as a node of European importance, in the articulated framework of national, European, and international connections. Milan is characterized by an exceptional level of accessibility within the regional and metropolitan context. In fact, in addition to being at the center of an airport system that includes the airports of Malpensa, Linate, and Bergamo Orio al Serio, today Milan is the central node of Northern Italy High-Speed ​​system.

The location of a business influences its strategy and viability. Milan as a Cluster of Innovation is an excellent choice because it provides access to all kinds of resources and enables experimentation, learning, and adjustment necessary to set up a successful business. Also, those people and firms that for various reasons cannot locate their firm in Milan, should develop interconnections to this portal to the future. The reward for all will be more business opportunities and faster growth.

The pandemic created an opportunity for Milano to look to the future and boldly reimagine the city on the other side. Milano has expanded its vision of a sustainable future to incorporate elements that are now critical components of the City’s long-term recovery including public health, digital inclusion, economic prosperity, transportation, education, and social services; and has accelerated progress towards these goals. The City of Milano remained committed to innovation and its goal for a sustainable and equitable future before, during, and coming out of the crisis.

If you know of a company or individual who is affecting change nominate them by emailing [email protected] and give them an opportunity to take their story to the world!

Rita Sa - INNOVATE™ Milan Publishing Partner



Rita Sa is the publishing partner for INNOVATE™ Milan. From Portugal, living abroad since 2010. Resident in Italy, Monza for the last 4 years.

While still studying for a degree in Architecture at the Lisbon Technical Institute of Lisbon University, she decided to pursue another path completing her Master in Marketing in Management from IPAM- Instituto Portugues de Administracao e-Marketing.

She is an enterprising executive leader with a passion for innovation; people life’s and accelerating business growth, a consultative sales expert focused on optimizing the customer experience. She is committed to developing a personal project, as she has been before working previously in the Pharma market, to demonstrate personal purpose in serving people’s lives. With all life’s changes comes the transformation of oneself, Rita guides you through that process through her coaching and mentoring programs.

With previous experience working for multinationals, at national and international level in such areas as Sales, Marketing; Project Managing; Marketing Strategy; Market Research and Business analysis she has a deep knowledge of the Healthcare (ROCHE, GILEAD, ESTEVE), Food &Beverage (UCHARIA, EF EVENTS) and Coaching (MYWAYFINDER, OROQUA) ecosystems.

After being invited by AddSolutions to be part of the INNOVATE™ world by bringing the Italian Innovative Ecosystem to the world, she did not hesitate to embrace the challenge!!

If you’d like to find out more about INNOVATE™ Milan, and how we could work together to showcase and celebrate your Innovation Ecosystem, please email [email protected]

Lígia Neves - INNOVATE™ Milan Publishing Partner



A Humanistic Professional Master Coach & Humanistic Professional Coach Trainer – IHCOS®, she is passionate about life and personal development, and she has dedicated the last 9 years to this area, founding Dare To Be Great in 2011, a Coaching Company that sees the world as place where all people have access to their own empowerment for self-sustainability. With the goal of impacting more people’s lives, she became a required Coach/Consultant in several Companies, being the IHCOS® Ambassador for Portugal and a Strategic Advisory Board Member of SAPANA.

She also carries vast experience in the commercial arena, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, where she held positions as Sales Representative, National Sales Manager, and Sales & Marketing Director, where she first developed a deep interest in behavioral areas, such as leadership, people management, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and crucial and influential themes for action. After being invited by AddSolutions to be part of the INNOVATE™ world, and bring the Portuguese and Italian Innovative Ecosystem to the world, she did not hesitate to embrace the challenge!!

If you’d like to find out more about INNOVATE® Milan, and how we could work together to showcase and celebrate your Innovation Ecosystem, you can reach Lígia at [email protected]

Pedro Coelho - INNOVATE™ Milan Publishing Partner



Originally from Portugal, he recently arrived in Orlando, with an entrepreneurial spirit that is characteristic of all his endeavors.

While still studying for a degree in Architecture at the Lisbon Technical Institute of Lisbon University, Pedro created Addsolutions, a communication, branding, and events agency that has been in the Portuguese market for 21 years. Today, it is an agency that works with several multinational corporations, the vast majority of the pharmaceutical sector, and especially those permanently motivated by innovation.

With his desire for constant learning, Pedro earned a postgraduate degree in Management and E-Business from ISEG, Lisbon School of Economics & Management of Lisbon University, and an Intensive Management Course from ISCTE (Mini-MBA). He also attended the first year PhD in Tourism, Heritage & Territory at Coimbra University and the Executive Education in Internationalization Management Program at Católica Business & Economics in Lisbon. With the aim of sharing his knowledge and know-how, he’s spent much of his time teaching at ETIC, School of Technologies Innovation and Creation.

In addition to his career, sports have always been a passion for Pedro. To that end, he played an important role as a Local Tour Director of the US Kids Golf Foundation.

In recent years, he has invested in the internationalization of Addsolutions and today its main focus is to make the agency recognized as the most innovative and creative of all.

INNOVATE™ will be another entrepreneurship project well-aligned with Pedro’s passion for Portugal and innovation. If you’d like to find out more about INNOVATE™ Milan, and how we could work together to showcase and celebrate your Innovation Ecosystem, you can reach Pedro at [email protected].

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