The congress “Italy: Innovation and Fascination”, which took place at Westhafen Pier in Frankfurt on the Main on 17 November 2011, attracted many visitors and great attention. The event was organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany (ITKAM) on the occasion of its 100th anniversary celebration. The bilateral association particularly focuses on the promotion of economic and industrial relations between Italy and Germany.
Renowned representatives from politics and economy exchanged views concerning various subject areas of current interest covering the Italian economic and entrepreneurial system. Some of the key topics were the renewed confidence in Italy, the support of companies as regards their increasing internationalization and the required means to meet the continuous challenges of the European competition.
The congress was inaugurated by Michele Valensise, the Ambassador of the Italian Republic to Germany and Honorary President of the ITKAM. After his speech, Stevie Kim from the Verona Fair handed over to the ambassador the exclusive UNA wine bottle containing wine of grape varieties of all 20 Italian regions that was produced on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Italy.
In the following inaugural address, Manlio La Loggia, President of the ITKAM, enumerated the most important milestones of the development and growth of the chamber of commerce for the promotion of the cooperation between Italian and German companies. “Even though the path covered testifies to success”, said Manlio La Loggia, “we not only have to be optimistic but we also have to remain realistic looking ahead to the future, given the challenges caused be the turbulence in the European and global market.”
“Looking at the German market with its increasingly competitive companies and its highly concentrated sales structures, our future efforts have to focus on the further strengthening of the competitiveness of the Italian companies. This is the only way to fully exhaust the technological synergies between Germany and Italy. Both countries will profit from it enabling them to be successful on the emerging markets.” Luca Cordero di Montezemolo (Fig. 1), the President of Ferrari, underlined in his speech the importance of the role of the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany and of the institutions for the promotion of important Italian sectors of economy abroad. Walter Ambrogi, Head of International Corporate & Investment Banking of Intesa Sanpaolo, opened the first panel with the topic “Innovations from Italy” dealing with the key role of the banks as regards granting credits and the possibilities of growth of newly founded companies. “Innovation”, Ambrogi explained, “is one of the most important goals our economy has to pursue with all its might, in addition to the determination of the appropriate company size to ensure the competitiveness and to the inclusion of the international markets in the own growth strategies. Just at present, when it comes to win back confidence and goodwill, innovation is of decisive importance for Italy.”
Gabriele Del Torchio, managing director of Ducati Motor Holding, underlined in his contribution the Italian know-how in technology and mentioned examples of his experience gained in the companies Ducati and Mercedes-AMG. Wolf Michael Kühne, partner of DLA PIPER, analyzed the development of M&A between Italy and Germany and underlined that despite the complications naturally involved in cross-border business (e.g. due to cultural, political and not least language hurdles) M&A of Italian companies in Germany and vice versa are successful – just because the two different cultures perfectly complement one another. In his opening words of the second panel, Ernesto Perri, representative of the Ministry of Economic Development, particularly dealt with the topics ‘solar energy’ and ‘sustainability’. Ingmar Wilhelm, vice president of Enel Green Power and president of EPIA, presented a survey of the growth of the photovoltaic industry in Europe and worldwide and dealt with the prospects of the two market leaders. Francesco Guidetti, CEO of Innova Solar Energy, described the challenges for medium-sized businesses in the European competition in the field of “Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)”. Gian Angelo Bellati, director of Unioncamere Veneto, also gave his view on this topic. He dealt with an environmentally sound and sustainable remediation of fringe areas and industrial fallow areas. Giuseppe Pasini, president of Feralpi Holding, dealt with the topics of sustainability and innovation.
Also other personalities made contributions, such as Hans‑Joachim Otto (Parliamentary Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Fig. 2), Pasquale Lamorte (Vice President of Unioncamere Nazionale), Augusto Strianese (President of Assocamere Estero), Francesco Casoli (President of Elica) and Andrea Zanlari (President of CCIAA Parma and of INDIS Unioncamere).
With some final reflections on innovations, which are required to survive in foreign markets, Manlio La Loggia, President of the ITKAM, concluded the congress and thanked all lecturers, participants and organizers.