The relaunch of business competition can make use of the synergies offered by innovative business combination tools. Mediocredito Italiano - the SME finance hub into which all the Group’s advisory, targeted financing and leasing activities are concentrated - plays a central role in managing the products dedicated to business networks and the activities designed to stimulate network culture, develop partnerships already in progress and facilitate new business combinations. During the year this activity led to the establishment of 16 Business Networks, 11 of which in the agribusiness and food management sector.
The service model, which envisages a desk dedicated to the development of business networks, also makes use of a “Osservatorio Nazionale” by the Research Department in partnership with Mediocredito Italiano and the Business Marketing Department, with the aim of assessing the positive effects of the network system on business performance and, in more general terms, on the competitiveness of the Italian production system. The studies conducted extend to other areas through the setup of Regional Laboratories involving local Associations and Institutions.
Osservatorio Nazionale, now in its fifth edition, describes the acceleration of the network tool in Italian production system in the two-year period 2013-2014. At the end of 2014, 1,927 network contracts involving 9,662 companies had been registered with the Chamber of Commerce. Most of the networks are made of businesses operating in different provinces. Furthermore, the percentage of green contracts, i.e. associated with environmental sustainability, is particularly high (approximately 14% of the total). 

Among the most recent business networks set up in 2014 was the “RIUSO-Rete Imprese Umido-Sostanza Organica”, a network to individually and collectively increase the innovation capacity of the companies involved and make them more competitive on the Piedmont organic waste disposal market. Another network recently established was “Rete Politecna Restauro”, which brings together a group of entrepreneurs that express the country’s excellence in the field of restoring works of art, architecture and monuments, as well as in the private and public building industry.

Business clusters: knowing the local area to support sectors in difficulty

Intesa Sanpaolo’s Research Department has continued to study business clusters as part of its publications (“Monitor dei Distretti” and the annual report “Economia e Finanza dei Distretti”) and through participation in a series of meetings with local associations, institutions and business owners.
It concentrated in particular on certain business clusters suffering a structural crisis for some years but with good development potential, for which the analysis conducted on the main strengths and weaknesses offered active support to local institutions in preparing a production relaunch and local production job plan for submission to the Ministry for Economic Development.