The history of the Foundation Edoardo Garrone

Fondazione Edoardo Garrone was established in 2004 by the will of Riccardo Garrone, as a natural evolution of the philanthropic commitment of the Garrone and Mondini families. Its primary goal is to promote social, economic and cultural development. Officially formed by San Quirico S.p.A. and ERG S.p.A., it is dedicated to the memory of Edoardo Garrone, who, back in 1938, launched the industrial activity of the ERG Group. The new-born Foundation was led by Riccardo Garrone, who personally worked on its concept and further development.

Uomo in primo piano con sfondo il porto

From the very start, Fondazione Edoardo Garrone’s mission has been to disseminate culture, art, and science among an increasingly wide public. As a consequence, during the first years of the Foundation’s activity, a large number of events and exhibitions were organised in cooperation with leading representatives of the world of culture, and offered free of charge to people of all ages and professions – events capable of telling stories, explaining, involving, intriguing… in a nutshell, educating.

The Foundation’s strong focus on education and training became increasingly apparent starting in 2006, when a series of projects devoted to the younger generations was initiated, including Scuola Leggendo (Learning to Read) and the higher-education school of Economics of Cultural Tourism Cattedra Edoardo Garrone, Scuola di Alti Studi in Economia del Turismo Culturale. The latter, in particular, integrated education and training with the promotion of local assets, and, at a later stage, shifted the specific focus of educational activities to self-entrepreneurship, thereby setting a model for future projects and initiatives. Genova Scoprendo (Discovering Genoa), a project targeted at lower secondary schools, was meant to let the younger generations discover their city’s history and artistic-cultural heritage, as well as encouraging their active, responsible involvement.

In 2013, following the demise of Riccardo Garrone, his son Alessandro was appointed Chairman, a decision that reflected his entire family’s commitment to giving continuity to its philanthropic mission.

Consistently with a vision that had already been clearly defined by the Founder back in the late 1990s and which attracted rising public interest after the 2008 economic crisis, new projects increasingly focused on the promotion and the economic development of mountain areas, rich in resources and holding a great potential for the future of many young people, and of Italy as a whole. Aiming to tackling new challenges with original, self-funded projects, the Foundation forged new partnerships with national public and private entities, the final goal being to join efforts, skills and resources in order to implement sound, scientifically-validated projects truly capable of creating sustainable value over time.


Fondazione Edoardo Garrone organises and promotes innovative, high-quality, free educational and training activities, whose main objective is to enhance the development of business & management skills among the younger generations, thereby allowing them to play, day after day, an increasingly vital role for the future of their local communities.

In 2014 ReStartApp was launched, the first start-up incubation on-campus course for the relaunch of the Apennine economy, targeted at under-35-year-olds. The format proved to be successful, and in 2016, in cooperation with Fondazione Cariplo, the same project was replicated for the Alps – that’s how ReStartAlp was born.

In the cultural sector, Fondazione Edoardo Garrone works on the development of new museum management models. The first edition of the Master’s Course in Museum Asset Management  was first held in 2015. This was an intensive course aimed at identifying a new formula for the experimental management of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Villa Croce, in Genoa. In 2018 the focus shifted to the Ceramics Museum of Savona: starting from a hackathon, the goal was to create a new team and a new management model to valorise the city’s artistic heritage, thus also enhancing tourism and the dissemination of culture at a local level.

At the end of 2017 Fondazione Edoardo Garrone decided to devote a new project to non-profit organisations in Liguria: “Fundraising Coaching Plus” combines higher education and social commitment and has the overall goal of reviving the local third sector by offering non-profit organisations tools and knowledge that will allow them to grow further.

By late 2018 Fondazione Edoardo Garrone was one of the leading actors in the debate on the economic development of Italy’s High Lands (the Terre Alte) – a topic that had by then become key to the Foundation’s mission. Thanks to the experience and history of the companies established every year as a result of the ReStartApp and ReStartAlp on-campus courses, the Foundation is contributing to maintaining a strong, lively emphasis – at a national level – on the opportunities offered by Italy’s mountain regions to innovate, experiment and promote sustainable development.


Mountain areas and youth entrepreneurship lie at the heart of Fondazione Edoardo Garrone’s activity. In 2019, the Foundation was able to present the results of ReStartApp per il Centro Italia (ReStartApp for Central Italy) – an edition of the project specifically devoted to the areas struck by the 2016 earthquake.

In the same year, the first edition of the combined ReStartApp and ReStartAlp on-campus courses was held, aiming to boost the economy and support entrepreneurship in the mountain areas located along trekking trails, leveraging on the increasing interest for slow tourism as a new way of discovering local areas, their lifestyles, and their local products and traditions.

Montagna innevata, in primo piano un piccolo paesino

The Covid19 pandemic led to restrictions, lockdowns, and social distancing, as well as to countless analyses and considerations on possible causes and solutions. This situation further increased the public's attention for, and focus on, sustainable lifestyles, the decongestion of urban areas, and new settlement models in inland areas and mountain villages.

Fondazione Edoardo Garrone's projects and activities promoting sustainable development and local resources in the Apennines, therefore, gained new momentum and attracted even more interest than before.

Applications for the 2020 edition of the ReStartApp ‘on campus’ course - which was held in person between September and November, also to reiterate the social and relational importance of education and training - doubled with respect to the previous years, reflecting an increased awareness of the European and worldwide Green Deal.


The first edition of Progetto Appennino – idee che muovono montagne (The Apennines Project - ideas that move mountains) was held, a new format designed to bring together and harmonise all the activities carried out by Fondazione Edoardo Garrone since 2014 to promote entrepreneurship in mountain areas. Thanks to a partnership network that has constantly developed through the ‘on campus’ courses ReStartApp, ReStartAlp, ReStartApp per i Cammini Italiani (ReStartApp for Italian itineraries), and the project ReStartApp per il Centro Italia (ReStartApp for Central Italy), Fondazione Edoardo Garrone was able to conceive and practically validate an effective, integrated, and replicable formula for the development and strengthening of young mountain businesses - a well-structured system including education & training activities and consulting services, and combining enterprise incubation, enterprise acceleration, and networking workshops.

Progetto Appennino – idee che muovono montagne was conceived to make available strategies and development policies for the Apennine areas, i.e. tools and skills specifically aiming to promote the establishment of new businesses and support existing ones, also by forming networks that would allow to share resources, knowledge, and opportunities; improve process efficiency; and propose new ideas for new markets.

Every year, Fondazione Edoardo Garrone issues a dedicated ‘Call for the Territories’ to select the Apennine area where all activities will be carried out and to reach out to local public-private partnerships wishing to incorporate the project into a comprehensive, strategic vision for the local areas and communities.

In 2021, the partnership led by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ascoli Piceno was selected to host the first edition of Progetto Appennino, which included:

a - the ‘on campus’ course ReStartApp 2021

b - Vitamine in azienda (Company Vitamins), customised acceleration programmes for 15 already-operating local businesses;

c - Imprese in ret” (Networked Enterprises), 2 workshops on the creation or strengthening of as many networks connecting different local businesses.


The first edition of Tra le righe (Between the lines) was held. The project was launched thanks to the fruitful cooperation established with the experts of the Andersen Magazine and the Sarvego Festival, a travelling children's literature festival that takes place in the Alta Val Borbera valley (one of the oldest and most resourceful valleys in the Ligurian-Piedmontese Apennines).

Tra le righe aims at reading and writing literature on topics related to Sustainability and Active, Responsible Citizenship.
Acting as both readers and authors, children are able to explore and experiment with the languages of literature for children and adolescents, creating new contents and creatively sharing their emotions, ideas, and projects for a better society.


The first edition of Lo spettacolo siamo noi! (We are the real show!) was held. As part of this project, developed in close cooperation with school teachers, pupils have a chance to learn about a wide range of theatre productions and, helped by playwrights and actors, try themselves at writing and putting on stage real theatre pièces on civic education topics. This way, they become the authors, directors, and set & lighting designers of a performance staged by professional actors.

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