«Make Italy great again!» could be the Trumpian and ambitious slogan of the summit between entrepreneurs, bankers, financiers, and economists, Italian and American, that Fernando Napolitano, in partnership with Ernst Young (EY), has organized for February 14th in New York. The summit, at its sixth edition, aims to accredit Italian business in the eyes of the American business community as an efficient system, to be trusted because at least the private sector, but not only, deserves it. «Accrediting means promoting relations and business,» Napolitano explains. «Business requires stability, predictability, and reliable and timely information, better if from an independent source and third party to a government. Just what our country needs to grow in the US, and that the summit offers.»
Napolitano – a career as a super consultant (he served for twenty years, until 2010, as CEO of Booz Allen Italia) and now an independent director in various companies including Mediaset and Amri, a pharmaceutical company listed on the Nasdaq – is, in fact, a knowledge entrepreneur, playing a role that is, together, a cultural mediator and business banker.
And the results can be seen: at the last edition of the summit, the parterre was exceptional: from Giuliano Amato to Marta Dassù, from Andrea Guerra of Eataly, to Maximo Ibarra of 3-Wind to Massimo Scaccabarozzi of Farmindustria, from Sandro De Poli of Ge, to Domenico Arcuri of Invitalia, Guido Nola of Jp Morgan, Alessandro Decio of Sace, Flavio Valeri of Deutsche Bank, Ferruccio Ferragamo, Marialina Marcucci. Moderated by Pimm Fox, a great signature of Bloomberg Media.
«The variety and strength of Italian business are still little known to Americans,» he explains, «and we at Italian business and investment initiative (abbreviated IB&II, ed.) have invested all our efforts to make it better known, to attract American investors to Italian ideas and skills, to give young talented Italians the opportunity to train in the United States. In five years, we have done a lot.»
Indeed, the numbers speak for themselves: 80 Best scholarship winners with the Fulbright program, 37 high-tech companies created in Italy with 330 new jobs, and 50 million dollars of investment. In 2017, the scholarships will be doubled to 300 in the following years. Facts and not words also at the «One-week acceleration program»: 12 symposia organized, 300 start-ups presented, 20 of which have opened a branch in the USA.
«Yes, in these five years the concrete attention of the US system towards our country has constantly grown. At the February summit in New York we will present five Italian industrial sectors, of which only one is already adequately known and appreciated, namely food, but four others, very important and in many cases at the forefront, still little known: energy, automotive, telecom/infrastructure and pharma.»
At the summit at the end of November, Donato Iacovone, CEO of EY in Italy, presented eloquent research, in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce, on the opportunities of the initiative: Italian exports to the U.S. recorded, yes, a + 5% in 2015, apparently confirmed in 2016: but in value, this represents only 44 billion dollars, just a third of the made in Germany landed in the United States.
«The confidence of foreign investors in the Italian economy is growing also thanks to the government action of the last year, first of all, the Industry Plan 4.0» comments Donato Iacovone. «There is no doubt that the relationship between the United States and Italy is one of the pillars around which to build the future growth of our export-oriented economy. There are also many significant cases of internationalization of Italian companies towards the U.S., and at a sector level, we believe that Telco, Energy, Pharma, Food, Manufacturing deserve special attention. It is no coincidence that we have placed them at the center of the next summit in New York.»
The summit, and the community that animates it, are also growing in institutional relevance – a bit like an Italian «Cernobbio» abroad: this is attested to by the increase in the number of Italian senior figures in the Council on Foreign Relations, the most exclusive American think-tank on international affairs in the world. To the historical partner, Eni, some others have been added, not by chance close to IB&II: Chiomenti, Terna, Publitalia, and Wind. «Among other things, the leaders of these companies will be guests of the President of the Council, Richard Haass, at the next summit,» Napolitano points out.
The co-promoters of the IB&II Summit in New York are the American Chamber of Commerce, Aspen Italia, Us Italy Council, the American study center, the Action Institute, and Bocconi University. Media partner: Panorama.