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ITALY4INNOVATION - Harnessing Technologies and Fostering Growth

Date:

06/10/2019


ITALY4INNOVATION - Harnessing Technologies and Fostering Growth

The seventh Italy4Innovation event, “Harnessing Technologies and Fostering Growth. Boosting Early-Stage Companies”, hosted at the Embassy of Italy in London on 6 June, focused on platforms for setting up and growing microbusinesses. The panel analysed and compared incubator and accelerator models and examined their interactions with the world of academia, research, business, public support schemes, credit access and investment.

A keynote speech was given by Gian Luigi Costanzo, the head of the Futura Invest, an Italian investment fund. The panellists were Roberto Magnifico of LVenture Group, a fund that manages LUISS EnLabs, an incubator based in Rome, and Peter Bloomfield of Digital Catapult in London.

In his opening address the ambassador, Raffaele Trombetta, highlighted how crucial innovative start-ups and SMEs are as a driver of economic growth. He also gave an overview of the instruments and policies, such as procedures, incentives and rebates, that Italy has introduced in recent years to facilitate innovative start-ups and SMEs. He noted that the OECD has recognised Italian innovative start-ups and SMEs as among the best in the world.

The panellists compared the models of Cariplo Factory-LVenture model (an integrated supply chain for setting up and growing innovative micro-businesses used by the incubator LUISS EnLab) and Digital Catapult, and discussed the characteristics of the world of start-ups, in Italy and in the rest of Europe.

They noted the opportunities available in Europe in general and in Italy in particular: costs are lower in Italy than in other countries; its university system provides a rich pool of talent; and the country is showing positive trends in the field of innovation, with unmistakeable, frequently exponential, growth in all relevant parameters. For example, Italy had over 10,000 innovative SMEs as of April this year, and the Financial Times annual survey of the thousand fastest-growing European companies identified Milan as the third most dynamic environment after London and Paris (Rome is in sixth place), while venture-capital investment has doubled in just a year.

The speakers also mentioned the numerous measures that the Italian government has implemented to support early-stage companies, such as deductions, contributions and lower taxes for the acquisition of or investment in innovative start-ups. These are supported by the patent-box regime introduced by the Industry 4.0 package and the Italian Innovation Fund, which uses an initial public grant to create a fund for venture funds. It was also highlighted that the Pricewaterhouse Coopers report “Digital Tax Index 218: Locational Tax Attractiveness for Digital Business models” named Italy as the most competitive destination in a list of some 33 countries.

 


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