Italy has given its investment promotion efforts a boost with the establishment of a new promotional agency. The purpose of the newly established Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE), said president Riccardo Monti, is to manage in a more coherent and systematic way three levels of internationalisation: the promotion of the Expo 2015 event taking place in Milan; supporting Italian companies going abroad; and promoting investment opportunities in Italy.
Existing promotion agency Invitalia will continue dealing with investment incentives and other related issues.
“Our role is really to do the marketing and promotional part through our international network. What we should do and it has never been done in the past and is a marketing of our country as an area to invest,” said Mr Monti.
As a place to visit and as a general place, Italy does not necessarily need a rebrand, Mr Monti acknowledges, but making a business case for investing in the economy is a major task that ICE will take on.
“One thing that Italy has is a strong name. We did focus groups. If you look at the ‘Made in Italy’ products it is really associated with a number of positives: well done, elegant, cool, functional. If you look at Italy as a place to invest we need to do a lot. We need really to come up with hard facts, we need to promote success stories – and we have success stories especially in manufacturing,” said Mr Monti.
ICE has also set up a unit called 'Desk Italia', which will assist companies once they set up in Italy and help them navigate bureaucratic procedures. “We try to help people coming here so that without facing a blind bureaucracy you have the name of someone who can help you,” Mr Monti said.
“The organisation is already functioning; we already hired the people coming from different organisations and we have been working for the past several months on at least six or seven big investments," he said.