Integrated and far-reaching measures, involving both training and promotional initiatives, in order to support the economies of the Convergence Regions – Apulia, Calabria, Campania, and Sicily fully.

This is the basis for the Piano Export Sud (Southern Export Plan), managed and coordinated by ICE-Italian Trade Promotion Agency, aimed at assisting those enterprises – in particular of micro, small, and medium size – which operate in those areas most exposed to economic turbulence, in successfully conducting business in the Mediterranean region as well as in more distant markets with ample prospects for growth.

The Plan makes use of part of the CAP (Cohesive Action Plan) budget, for a total of € 50 million to be structured into three annual programs, following the reorganization of the 2007-2013 National “Research and Competitiveness” Operational Programme developed by the DGIAI of the Ministry for Economic Development.

The initiatives planned aim, on the one hand, to strengthen synergies between local manufacturing industries and, on the other, to promote Southern Italy’s many high quality sectors; not just food, wine, and fashion, but also boating, aerospace, architectural restoration, renewable energy, and nanobiotechnology to name just a few. All will be high profile initiatives, organized for the purpose of encouraging Southern Italy’s growth in international markets.

Summary of the Southern Export Plans programme of initiatives in support of the convergence regions

Year 1

The Export Plan for the Convergence Regions (Campania, Calabria, Apulia, and Sicily), also known as the Southern Export Plan, is a programme of initiatives which aims to encourage the internationalization of SMEs and the promotion of Italy’s product image in the world. It is one of the measures included in the Cohesive Action Plan (CAP) as part of the reorganization of the 2007-2013 National ‘Research and Competitiveness’ Operational Program developed by the Ministry for Economic Development (MiSE) DGIAI.

The plan outlines a multi-year programme in support of the promotion of products and services produced and provided by enterprises in the Calabria, Sicily, Apulia, and Campania Regions in international markets, and is managed and organized by ICE-Italian Trade Promotion Agency in collaboration with regional institutions and local industrial systems.

The first year of the Plan will follow a calendar which begins with the fourth trimester of 2013 and ends at the end of February 2015, and includes the realization of approximately eighty initiatives.

Those expected to benefit from these activities are (in addition to SMEs) start-ups, university research parks and technology parks, and consortiums and business networks present in the four Convergence Regions; all of which will benefit from a series of training initiatives and a promotional programme aimed at increasing exports in the manufacturing and service sectors of Calabria, Sicily, Apulia, and Campania. The methods of participation will be publicized individually for each initiative and will adhere to the CAP procedures.

Specifically, the Southern Export Plan – Year 1 is outlined in nine lines of the project under the form of training and promotional initiatives described as follows:

A.1 – ICE Export Lab Pilot Project
A.2 – Training in the management of intellectual
A.3 – Technical-training seminars geared towards orientation in international markets.

Among those measures which focus on training, the plan provides for the realization of four editions of the ICE Export Lab Pilot Project, one in each of the four regions. The training is aimed at SMEs in the manufacturing and services sectors, consortiums, business networks, start-ups, and university research parks, with the objective of strengthening managerial abilities and increasing competitiveness in international markets. It will be divided into three phases: classroom instruction, on-site training, and business incubation abroad for the launch of products and services in target markets through ICE’s network of offices.

Participation is contingent on selection according to criteria to be detailed under the form of public notice.

Among the Plan’s new features are training modules regarding the management of intellectual property for university specialists (researchers, physicists, chemists, engineers), technological parks, enterprises, and start-ups aimed at developing skills in the management and promotion of patent portfolios. This portion provides for four brief training sessions, one in each region. Participation is contingent on selection according to criteria to be detailed under the form of public notice.

Furthermore, technical-training seminars geared towards orientation in international markets are also planned, with the objective of reaching the largest number of operators possible. Five sessions are planned for each region, either according to sector or focused on the protection of international property rights, female business ownership, europlanning, certification, strategic marketing, trade techniques, or the use of social networks.

B.1 – Participation in trade shows
B.2 – Incoming business missions to districts and
manufacturing areas
B.3 – Initiatives through foreign commercial
networks and media
B.4 – Events based on international partnerships
B.5 – Innovation and High-Tech Exchange
B.6 – ‘Towards the Mediterranean’ Pilot Project

In terms of promotional initiatives within Italy and abroad, a specific programme of events has been prepared which focuses on trade shows, incoming business missions by foreign operators, communication activities through foreign brokerage networks, and partnerships in strategic sectors; all within the framework of an integrated promotion based on the presentation of quality manufacturing and technology and on the cultural heritage of the regions in question.

The Annual Programme, in keeping with the publicly financed projects already organized by ICE-Italian Trade Promotion Agency, and focused on those sectors considered to be priority, will proceed according to industry logic.

The initiatives pertain to:

  • the agricultural industry (food, fruits and vegetables, wine, nursery, seafood);
  • the fashion industry (textiles/clothing, footwear, leather, gold, publishing, film);
  • the transportation industry (boating, aerospace, logistics, automotive);
  • the interior design and construction industry (home furnishings, architectural restoration, urban development, stonework);
  • the high-tech industry (nanobiotechnology, Mechatronics, ICT);
  • the energy industry (environment and renewable energy).

In terms of the B.1 line of intervention of the project, participation in twenty five international exhibitions has already been planned, with trade shows dedicated to the following sectors: food-farming and beverages, environment, nursery, aerospace, HO.RE.CA, fashion, gold and jewelry, publishing, film, boating, mechanical components, and home furnishings. Businesses will be able to take advantage of ‘de minimis’ financing to help cover the area/staging/management costs of their individual stands.

Seventeen incoming missions of foreign operators are planned, and include buyers, distributors, experts, architects, and journalists in the following sectors: automotive, boating, aerospace, environment, child/adult fashion, restoration, stonework, textiles/home furnishings, design, and jewelry/gold. These foreign operators have been selected from the target countries indicated in the Southern Export Plan, and are predominantly from the EU, the Mediterranean, and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).

The portion of the project related to foreign media, commercial-networks, and LSD (large scale distribution) and with a multi-sector approach, focuses on the BRICS countries, Mexico, and Bulgaria, while the more targeted initiatives are planned for the US, Japan, and the Mediterranean countries and focus on the food-farming industry.

Of these, Italian Food and Wine Week stands out, an inter-regional promotional initiative developed by ICE in order to strengthen mainly the presence of Italian wine enterprises in the United States. It is a trade show which takes place in New York at the beginning of every year and is geared towards buyers, importers, distributors, experts in the sector, and specialized journalists. The event includes seminars with guided tastings of wine and/or round tables with themed presentations; press conferences and publicity on social networks; networking opportunities with buyers, journalists, and industry experts; Meet&Greet tastings for Italian businesses not yet present in the USA; and, above all, an Italian Wine Exchange which is the core of Italian Wine Week.

In terms of the events based on international partnerships, the SIEE-Sino Italian Exchange Event stands out, an event involving the Convergence Regions and China and aimed at strengthening the collaborative relationship between our two countries in the field of Research & Development, with a particular focus on innovative districts, on the development of a network of science parks, and on solutions regarding every aspect of growth based on innovation. The initiative will take place in conjunction with the Innovation Exchange, to be held in Naples at Città della Scienza during the same period, so as to take advantage of synergies within the sector and complementary themes.
Of note are also the international partnerships dedicated to the aerospace, nano-biotechnology, and eco-friendly construction sectors which encourage the development of commercial and industrial collaborations in the R&D field.

The plan also includes the organization of an Innovation and High-Tech Exchange in Naples, an international event intended to promote the commercialization and/or the transfer of high-tech products and intangible assets (especially patents), through the matching of supply and commercial/technological demand and of start-ups, innovative SMEs, business networks, universities, technological parks, and foreign counterparts in the BRICS countries, USA, EU, and the Mediterranean.

The first edition of the Innovation Exchange will take place within the context of the SIEE-Sino Italian Exchange Event, which will thus ensure a focus on cooperation with China.

The foreign markets which the plan focuses on are distributed in a logical way and according to the agreement between MiSE and ICE. The goal is to recoup the export quotas lost by Italian businesses in the Mediterranean area and to strengthen activities in third-party countries which show tendencies of economic growth, like the BRICS countries (Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa), which, in 2012, received 16.3% of the world’s imports.