University and political representatives in a shared dialogue for the industrial future on foreign direct investment

Consolidate and anchor the multinational presence in the territory as a strategic objective of Veneto region's industrial policy


Economy - published on 09 May 2024


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Source: press office Presidency of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso - Belluno|Dolomites

Belluno, 8 May 2024 – The conference “Gli investimenti esteri come leve per lo sviluppo regionale” (Foreign Investments as Levers for Regional Development“) was held in the Chamber of Commerce of Belluno . It was an important opportunity for discussion, with prominent speakers from both the academic and political worlds.

The Belluno area was able to benefit from high-level discussions focused on opportunities for collaboration between key stakeholders in local, regional, and national politics and economics.

The event is part of the Europe Direct Montagna Veneta initiatives, such as the EUROPE DAY 2024: Europe Day, focused on the competitiveness of European industry and promoted by Gal Prealpi e Dolomiti and the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso-Belluno|Dolomites, represents an important step in the research on ‘Complex Eco-systems’ assigned by the Treviso and Belluno Economic and Social Observatory to Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

This conference – underlines the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso-Belluno | Dolomites and Assocamerestero Mario Pozzaleads us to reflect on the importance of foreign investments for the development of territories and how territories must work as a system to be all-round attractive: not only by leveraging historical manufacturing skills, but by investing in knowledge and training, promoting technological and managerial innovation in the production fabric. Also investing in surrounding elements, such as residency and the socio-cultural offer of an area, which are increasingly essential to attract young talent. These, in fact, are the conditions that allow us to gain the maximum benefit from the interaction between territorial supply chains and the presence of important global players. Increasing high-quality employment and the share of economic value that is retained. With regard to the matters discussed today, and in the framework of the actions that can strengthen the attractiveness of our territories in a systematic way – as President of Assocamerestero – I would like to call attention to the important Memorandum of Understanding signed between Assocamerestero and the Conference of Regions. More than half of the Italian Regions already work with the Italian Chambers of Commerce Abroad – frequently also through the Italian Chamber System – but this Protocol adds an extra edge. I am very pleased that, – the President concludes, – together with the GAL Prealpi, the Economic Observatory, and Ca” Foscari University of Venice, this event has taken place today in Belluno: to launch all together a message of challenge and hope regarding the territory’s ability to work as a system, against the risk of peripherality, and to share and consolidate the concrete actions functional to this plan for the growth of our community.

I would like to emphasise – says Ivo Nardi, President of the Economic and Social Observatory of Treviso and Bellunohow this workshop on foreign investment is part of a broader research project that we are carrying out as the Economic Observatory, together with the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and which is entitled ’Creating competitive ecosystems in peripheral territories’, between attractiveness and combating decline.

It is a research path that, by the will of the 28 members that make up the Observatory, involves all local actors, explores different dimensions of analysis, is listening and will listen to several voices: large and small enterprises, training chains, local finance, local administrations.

And we are pleased – Nardi concludes  – that this research of ours also converges with other, important territorial mobilisation efforts, such as that of the Gal Prealpi, which draws on the same theoretical matrix for combating the decline of peripheral areas. A convergence that also finds tangible evidence in this very event, organised together, with the same vision in building the future for our communities.

Once the annual approval of the communication plan has been received from the European Commission, the Europe Direct centre, operating at the headquarters of the GAL Prealpi e Dolomiti, – informs Matteo Aguanno, Director of the Europe Direct Montagna Veneta centre of the GAL Prealpi e Dolomiti, – is required to work on a selection of strategic priorities proposed throughout the year.
This workshop is part of that priority, where the audience of the Veneto mountains will be able to deepen the theme of the competitiveness of European industry and the role of multinationals in favour of the development of new entrepreneurship in mountain areas, through the analysis of data and studies, presented by university professors, and reflect on the different points of view that will emerge from the round table. This Europe Day,’ Aguanno concludes, ’is the fruit of an invaluable synergy activated with the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso-Belluno|Dolomites, which we intend to continue and intensify, pursuing together the various paths that may be useful for the development and relaunch of the area where we live and work.

Foreign direct investment can be a powerful development factor for the economy of territories, helping to create skilled jobs and promoting technological and managerial innovation in the production fabric.
In Italy, the presence of companies with foreign capital participation is still modest: in fact, it involves 12% of total employment in private companies, compared with 20% in Germany and 25% in France. However, this is a phenomenon that, in terms of employees involved, has increased by 27% from 2015 to 2021, and in Veneto by as much as 45%, indicating an interest in acquisitions of companies with manufacturing skills and significant growth potential.

In Veneto there are in fact 1400 companies with foreign capital, with 136,000 employees and a turnover of over 55 billion euro.
The economic impact of foreign capital is however greater than these numbers tell us. In fact, we must also consider the ancillary industries of small and medium-sized enterprises linked to foreign multinationals, which, in terms of employment generated, is at least equivalent to direct employment. Then there is the contribution of foreign-controlled companies to exports which, according to recent surveys, exceeds 50% of the total in Veneto, guaranteeing a stability of trade flows even during international shocks. Above all, multinational companies show much higher productivity than domestic companies, which is reflected in more skilled jobs and higher average wages.

Consolidating and anchoring the multinational presence to the territory therefore becomes a strategic objective of industrial policy.

Veneto can aspire to attract foreign investment through a strategy that enhances territorial expertise and promotes collaboration between companies, academic institutions and decision-makers, –  says Venicepromex special prosecutor Franco Conzato. This strategy focuses on identifying innovative economic models, creating a competitive ecosystem – such as the one based on life-science – replacing the old ”industrial districts’, and on creating an environment that is favourable to economic growth.
Veneto can thus aspire to become a reference point in attracting foreign investments, offering opportunities for sustainable and collaborative development in the Italian and international context.

The occasion of Europe Day dedicated to the competitiveness of continental industry, for a manufacturing region such as the Veneto region and for the Belluno area with its specificities, –  points out CertotticaGroup CEO Corrado Facco –  puts in front of all of us the urgent need for a strategic analysis of the relations between large enterprises and new evolved entrepreneurship.
In the new era of the knowledge economy, advanced training and innovation – also through strategic partnerships – combined with evolved systems of governance of production chains and supported by high quality public and private services, can represent the levers of possible attractiveness of new talents in the territory, in order to preserve the excellence of Made in Italy in place and mitigate depopulation and marginalisation trends. It is precisely the enhancement of Human Capital and Innovation, among others, that are two of the competitive levers and fields of action on which the CertotticaGroup is actively and convincingly working, alongside its Members and the economic system of reference, for the future of the Territory.

With their values – tradition and innovation, ties to culture and territory, passion and soul, the centrality of the individual –  points out Confartigianato Belluno President Claudia Scarzanella –  craft enterprises can and must reclaim an important space within supply chains and clusters, winning the challenge represented by small size, a guarantee of flexibility, quality, and sustainability through training and strategic plans supported by politics.

Confindustria Belluno Dolomiti, –  comments Andrea Ferrazzi, Director of Confindustria Belluno Dolomites, – is transforming the Belluno region into a hub of innovation and higher education, to increase its attractiveness and competitiveness. Links have been forged between universities, business schools, start-ups, and industries, and projects such as the Luiss headquarters, the Its Mechatronics Institute, and the living lab in Feltre have been implemented. We are working on the opening of a computer science course with the University of Verona and the sensorisation of a ski slope, also in view of the 2026 Olympics. These initiatives are all pieces of a puzzle, pieces of an ecosystem that we have called “Dolomites Innovation Valley”. 

The conference featured three scientific contributions. In the first speech, Marco Mutinelli, professor at the University of Brescia, presented an up-to-date picture of the economy and geography of foreign holdings in Italian companies, with a focus on Veneto. Riccardo Crescenzi, professor at the London School of Economics, presented research findings on the attraction of foreign investments in European regions and highlighted how the positioning of territorial supply chains in global value chains can be best exploited to support innovation and development in a changing geopolitical and economic landscape. Finally, Giulio Buciuni, lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, proposed an analysis on the role that multinational companies can play in the creation of innovative enterprises, thus further contributing to rooting growth in the territory.

 

Translated by Cecilia Flaccavento
Intern at the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso – Belluno|Dolomites

Read the additional abstracts and speechs (in italian): 

Watch the slides of the university professors (in italian): 

 

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