Should you do business in Italy in 2021? After decades in which the dominant narrative has been one of globalisation and of a shrinking world in which distances could be covered increasingly fast or ignored altogether, and in which businesses could expand on a worldwide scenario, with increasingly friendly trading agreements, the pandemic has brought many entrepreneurs to reconsider the advantages of local economies. Distances suddenly matter again, both because of the carbon emissions connected with flying and because of restrictions, but they also matter less than ever, because the post-pandemic world is one in which everything is done online and anyone can attend any meeting or event regardless of where they might find themselves physically. What’s this got to do with whether or not you should invest in Italy in 2021? Maybe even start your own business there? Plenty, as you are about to find out.
It’s not about what you know…
… it’s about the trade agreements you enter. In this case, specifically, the Eurozone, which is, simply put, the safest and most desirable free market on the planet. Italy is the third-largest economy within the Eurozone, while also serving as a hub to Northern African and Middle Eastern countries – which is exactly what has made this peninsula so crucial throughout centuries of European history. Italy has also been cultivating excellent economic relations with China and committing to what has been dubbed the New Silk Road. If your company is aiming for international markets, specifically Asian ones, but would benefit from the stability and safety of the Eurozone, Italy is the perfect place for you.
It is also about what you can do…
In this case, we are talking about manufacturing expertise and a galaxy of SME operating in a variety of industrial clusters, counting on a skilled workforce, and benefitting from half a century of outstanding traditions in fields such as design, food processing, the textile industry, and the automotive industry – to name but a few. Italian companies are the world’s favourites when it comes to intermediate products of outstanding quality. If your brand focuses on reliable quality, especially in fields that have something to do with craftsmanship, your ideal business partners are probably Italian. And it’s not just about tradition and the wisdom of times past: Italy is also growing a lively startup ecosystem, with an increasing number of large companies discovering the joys of open innovation.
… and how good you are at it
Let’s cycle back to Italy’s workforce: why is it so good? Because Italy has some of the best universities in Europe, providing superior education in both STEM and the humanities. It also has outstanding professional schools and has been cultivating its tradition for craftsmanship in a variety of fields. These efforts resulted in a skilled workforce that is still very competitive on the European market since Italy’s average cost of life – and therefore of labour – is still slightly below the European average.
Why companies are deciding to invest in Italy in 2021
Italy has been looking to attract more international investors. The government has been offering an attractive range of tax credit options and incentives to encourage innovation, sustainable investment, and Research & Development to pique their interest. These specific areas have been targeted because the Country is striving to meet the sustainability goals of the European Green Deal. Businesses with physical premises also get incentives and discounts for energy-efficiency improvement work on buildings.