Our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are innovative, green, creative, suited for the quality, linked to the region and at the same time launched on the global markets, bearers of wealth. They are one of the keystones of the made in Italy more versatile and responsive, a heritage for the whole country.
It is thanks to SMEs if we classified in second place preceded only by Germany in Europe by number of companies that in the last three years, so in full crisis, have focused on innovation. Our SMEs have introduced process and product innovations, raising the quality level of their activities. In fact, about 80% of the 65 481 Italian companies that have focused on innovation have less than 50 employees. Creativity, culture and innovation are one of the most powerful engines of the competitiveness of the made in Italy. That is why our cultural and creative sector can rely on nearly 1.4 million workers and on the front of the patents we do better than France and the UK: in 22 classes of design patents in Europe, on 32 total, Italy is first, second or third by number of registered projects.
Approximately 58% of our SMEs, besided, got advantage by professionalisms closely connected to the world of creativity. And they are still our businesses with less than 50 employees to lead the ‘green conversion‘ of the European employment: from the end of 2014, about 51% of small and medium-sized Italian companies have at least one green job, more than United Kingdom (37 %), France (32%) and Germany (29%).
A strategic choice that looks to the future and which already earns in terms of exports (among manufacturing enterprises, 44% of those who invest in green export steadily, compared to 24% of the other) and innovation (30% against 15 %). And again in our own galaxy of small businesses, micro, small and medium enterprises should be recognized over 1/5 (77 billion euro) of the value added produced in Europe by manufacturing companies up to 50 employees. Our small and medium-sized enterprises are a quarter of SMEs exporting in Europe (more than the German enterprises: 14.5%) and represent much as 90% of total manufacturing firms exporting in our country.
This is what emerges from the dossier «The SMEs and the quality challenge: a custom made economy to Italy» by CNA and Symbola Foundation.
This document identifies the potential and strengths of the Italian system by which we can get back to racing. Such as our unique talents, our know-how, the beauty and culture. Traditions to be renewed by betting on research, creativity and sustainability, on our ability to create quality and by focusing on advanced technologies, on the web, on the sharing economy. Our SMEs show a marked ability to establish itself outside our borders, even on rarely visited markets, which is linked to the bet on quality. This is demonstrated by the trend of average unit values of our products, that in the last decade (2002 — 2015) grew at rates higher than those of other major European countries. By virtue of the quality of our products the market recognizes us therefore higher prices. So much that we are actually first in the world for average unit value of 255 products. Including many coats of arms of the made in Italy: from the food farming to mechanics, from furniture and design to fashion.
«The survey shows — as stressed by the President of the CNA, Daniele Vaccarino - that quality is an innate characteristic of our country, strongly present also and especially in our economic system, consisting for the most part by SMEs. One feature that emerges strongly in the artistic and cultural territory/heritage combination. This combination can be a driving force for the development of many economic activities, from manufacturing to services, in which SMEs can and should be leaders. But to exploit this combination, you need to focus on quality.