Since its foundation as Umbria’s regional development agency in 1973, Sviluppumbria has become a model for regional planning that has been imitated by other regions both in Italy as well as abroad. Sviluppumbria’s core business is territorial marketing, namely the wide-ranging promotion of the region in order to encourage inward investors to relocate their businesses there.

“Umbria is the ideal place to do good business,” state Calogero Alessi and Vinicio Bottacchiari, respectively Sviluppumbria’s president and director.

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“Because the regional economy has consolidated its position, employment has risen, and small and medium-sized enterprises are becoming increasingly central to the economic fabric. As well as spheres of excellence, there is an effective institutional framework, a network of cities and territories that, because of their cultural and natural heritage, represent another trump card for investment opportunities.

“The major attraction for those who want to make Umbria work for them is the ‘concerted development’ charter,” they continue. “It’s the Umbrian recipe for development,” explains Mr Alessi, “a continual dialogue between the public and private sectors.”

Economic advantages

Turning to the practical aspects of Sviluppumbria’s founding principles, the economic advantages for investors in Umbria are tangible in terms not only of a background of technological research and innovation, but also in terms of attempts to constantly improve the infrastructure network.

Coupled to the local environment and a quality of life unparalleled anywhere else in Italy, the human factor is another advantage that the region enjoys. A low crime rate, culture and an active events calendar all represent a mixture of modernity and tradition that affirms the idea that the future still has an ancient soul.

Most recently, the Perugia–Sant’Egidio airport has been privatised, with Sviluppumbria holding a 33% stake in SASE, the airport’s managing company. Both Sviluppumbria and the Chamber of Commerce have been prime movers in finding partners to get Umbria’s airport off to a flying start and up to a traffic of 250,000 passengers a year.

“It’s up to us to create the conditions to make companies invest in Umbria,” says Mr Bottacchiari. “We’re not just involved in promotion, but in consultancy and assistance to companies as well. We’re ready to offer complete solutions, from finding the most suitable location for a firm, to setting up multi-party, round-table discussions to progress any relocation. In short, we tailor the solutions to the investor. We’re a one-stop shop. You just drop into our offices and you’ll find people who can help with your investment.”

At the same time, nine so-called ‘localisation packages’ have been put together. These offer opportunities to investors that have been researched by Sviluppumbria, and which are based on the organisation’s in-depth knowledge of the region’s strengths and weaknesses.

Integrated support

During its 30-year existence, Sviluppumbria has seen the creation of an integrated system for enterprises. The regional marketing company has a network that comprises a holding company, Gepafin, sponsored by the EU, the regional authority and 11 credit institutes. Sviluppumbria is the major stakeholder and is responsible for the administration of EU funds and facilitating access to the finance and risk-capital markets.

Featuring among the support mechanisms available to inward investors is Ptu-Sitech, Umbria’s technological park. The park is run by a consortium company and sets out to give an impetus to innovation.

With 4000 square metres of greenhouses and laboratories, the food industry technology park is gearing up to be a driving force for modern farming and the food industries. In short, it represents the economic synthesis of Umbrian excellence and opportunities for wealth.

“Into the global era with our eyes open” is Mr Alessi and Mr Bottacchiari’s slogan, giving voice to their conviction that they are, as they put it: “Ready to bring the best of both Italian and international innovation to Umbria. Fuelling Umbrian creativity is in both our and this region’s blood.”