The occasion was Italian Innovation Day. And the launching of "Why Italy Matters to the World," the platform created to promote Italian SMEs abroad. Including with the back-up of the website www.thisisitaly-panorama.com, the first web magazine in English dedicated to small- and medium-sized enterprises edited by our weekly publication (which followed the event minute-by-minute, including on a blog dedicated to it).
Two "big names" were anxiously awaited: Fedele Confalonieri, president of Mediaset, and Fulvio Conti, CEO of ENEL, both supporters of the initiative. The head of Mediaset was categorical: "There is a distorted picture of our country abroad," he said. And Conti spoke about the need to do something tangible to help the thousands of Italian companies who have everything it takes to become known on an international scale. "Because they have ideas," he noted. "Real ideas."
And this is the absolute truth. Demonstrated by the 25 companies, 12 of which start-ups, who stepped up onto the dais. Just three minutes each to convince those in the audience that their firm deserves backing. They are in search of financing, but also the right contacts to set up cross-border collaboration and negotiate business contracts, as well as other activities. They talked numbers, and outlined development projects and plans for return on capital investment. And, it would seem, they got the attention of those present. "I'm enthusiastic," whispered Alan A. D'Ambrosio, senior partner of the Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Llp legal studio. "Especially among the start-ups I saw companies with real potential."
The same view was voiced by Richard C. Boly, director of eDiplomacy, the US State Department technology think tank and former economic attaché to the American embassy in Rome: "I am convinced that Italy is also in the hi-tech avant-garde. And what I saw today proves this." Even more concrete was James W. Gerard, venture capitalist with North Sea Partners Llc, a New York merchant bank: "I have followed a number of operations in Italy," he stated in nearly-perfect Italian, also thanks to his Italian wife, a dentist. "In the United States, there is only superficial knowledge about your country. And uncovering the right opportunities for investment is not easy." From now on, getting one's bearings should be much easier.
Zornitza Kratchmarova from New York