By Bernd Debusmann Jr
SMEs constitute more than 98 percent of all businesses in the country, according to Italy's trade commissioner for the UAE, Oman and Pakistan
Italy’s government will invest ‘significant’ amounts of capital to help the country’s SMEs find business opportunities at the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai, according to Gianpaolo Bruno, Italy’s trade commissioner to the UAE, Oman and Pakistan.
Speaking to Arabian Business during a government-organised event for UAE firms to find business partners in the Italian province of Frosinone, Bruno said that the government believes Expo presents a “great opportunity” for Italian SMEs.
“We will double our efforts in order to create possibilities for these companies to deploy their marketing strategies during Expo. We have a fully-fledged promotional programme for that process,” he said.
Bruno added that the government “will also invest tax payer money to organise many initiatives during Expo devoted to companies”.
“The idea is to exert leverage and try help them out in getting known in the market and find proper counterparts to do business with [in the UAE],” he said.
According to Bruno, Italian SMEs constitute more than 98 percent of all Italy’s businesses, numbering approximately 5 million companies.
“We have a high concentration of companies, but most of them are pretty small. Sometimes they are even micro-companies that employ less than 10 people,” he said. “It’s a challenge for them to approach foreign markets.”
Italy’s major corporations, on the other hand, do not require government assistance in entering the UAE market or taking advantage of Expo-related opportunities.
“They [large firms] have their own organisational structures that enable them to approach a market and penetrate it,” he added. “They don’t need government support. But SMEs have to reply on our support, given their traditional lack of capabilities and skills.”
Additionally, Bruno said that Italian companies are particularly interested in the Dubai expo given their own successful experiences with the 2015 Milan expo.
“We also benefitted from the event. For Milan, Expo 2015 was a game changer,” he said. “But the companies are now playing in another country with a complex and sophisticated system and they have to cope with it. They have to use their knowledge not to waste their resources and streamline their strategies.”