21 September 2019



Pavilions and piers at the Genoa International Boat Show were overrun by visitors all morning from when the gates first opened for the Show’s third day of events. Crowds of industry professionals and sea enthusiasts made the most of the sunny weather this morning in Genoa to explore all of the latest products on display at the 59th edition of must-see event for sector operators and for those who love the sea and yachting.

The morning saw the “Genoa – a HUB for the marine economy conference, held by the Italian Ministry for Economic Development, the Italian Trade Agency, the Liguria Region, the Municipality of Genoa, UCINA (the Italian Marine Industry Association) and the Genoa International Boat Show, which shone the spotlight on the very pressing issue of the Blue Economy and on the opportunities provided by marine economies.

Giovanni Caprino, Vice President of the National Technical Cluster BIG: “The Cluster’s task is to encourage collaborative opportunities between the many entities that operate in different sectors of the Blue Economy. To align and integrate the research paths and activities and regional and national enterprises with European and Mediterranean ones, always with a keen focus on marine sustainability. The Cluster’s most fundamental aspect is its open structure that goes beyond its 85 members to encourage collaborative opportunities”.

Carlo Ferro President of the Italian Trade Agency: “The ITA strongly believes in the Genoa International Boat Show. This can be seen in the 20% increase in ITA funding compared to last year. The Blue Economy is an incredible opportunity for territories looking to the future and which invest in including younger generations. The sea shouldn’t be exploited but enhanced, especially as an opportunity for younger generations. This is why the ITA’s stand at the Genoa Boat Show has given its space to five start-up businesses carefully selected by UCINA to represent different sectors. These start-ups are, in fact, focused on new materials, recycling carbon fibre, electric propulsion, connectivity and communication systems”.

Alfredo Viglienzoni, Director of the Technology and Innovation Area of the Municipality of Genoa: “Our commitment is to push this city from one with a past of large businesses into a city based on innovative technologies. This is why we are attempting to implement and facilitate the development of innovative businesses and why we have initiated a strategic project that is entirely focused on the peculiarities of the territory, creating a space inside the Porto Antico area in which to generate innovation and aggregation. An incubator and an accelerator entirely dedicated to the Blue Economy”

Attilio Raimondi, Senior EE Expert an implementation manager of the Regional Energy Plan for Emilia Romagna: “For every intervention we need a long-term vision of the marine economy that involves all sectors. We have summarised our approach with regards to the Blue Economy in the publication “Tra la terra e il Mare” which brings together the analyses and proposals for planning out the maritime spaces of our region.

Massimiliano Pulice, CEO of Arcadis: “The issue concerning the dismantling by the State of large maritime locations is of prime importance because foreign investors are ready to fund operations that interest these areas. We need to be able to reach a state of certainty because, contrary to what one might think, investors are ready to take risks when timescales are certain. There are huge opportunities travelling across the world looking for a place to happen. We cannot afford to miss these opportunities”.

Davide Marini, the Liguria District of Marine Technology: “The District’s mission is to create the conditions for the funding of public and private investment research activities. Currently over 100 projects are active and represent 100 million euros overall, which have a direct effect on the Ligurian territory. Starting with nine industrial research projects and an educational one initiated in partnership with the Italian Ministry for Education, Universities and Research. Our objective is to create a meeting point between demand and supply of technology among research companies”.

In the same morning, during the conference dedicated to “How to fund small to medium businesses with great innovative potential”, introduced by Piero Formenti, Vice President of UCINA and organised by the European Industry Confederation in partnership with UCINA, two support instruments for small to medium businesses were presented, aimed at finding funding for developing business plans with high innovative potential. The first instrument, recently established by the European Community, is the European Innovation Council which sees the EU investing in businesses that want to develop ideas and applications that are disruptive and funding innovations that don’t exist on the market yet as well, but which have the potential to revolutionise their market segment. The first tender for this new instrument will begin on 8th October. In the second part of the conference Francesca Natali from a private equity fund intervened and the funding potential of venture capital and private equity instruments for small to medium companies was illustrated. The boating industry was represented by Francesco Pirro from the SNO Group who presented the brand development experience of B. Shiver, through the strategic investment carried out by Meta Group.

Leonardo Pinna, European Industry Confederation: “We are discussing new characteristics at the core of investment support, to sustain entrepreneurs so that their projects are funded by community funds, directly from the European Community without intermediaries. The European Innovation Council establishes a new frontier for investments and a significant accelerator, capable of helping businesses grow faster. The European Union is looking for new tools to allow businesses to place on the market cutting-edge products within the European platform and make them more competitive. Initially all funding was non-repayable, now thanks to the European Innovation Council there is 15 million euros of funding that has boosted business realities thanks to the Equity instrument. This funding is dedicated to small to medium businesses and start-ups in the initial stages of a new project. This project needs to be a high-risk project and also visionary, unable to find funding elsewhere. The European Union wants to fund businesses that will be, over the next four to five years, world market leaders, intercepting visionary projects. Funding ranges from 500,000 to 2.5 million euros. There are three criteria for a project to be chosen: excellence, impact and who is developing the project. There is also a scale with which to establish what a company’s degree of innovation is.”

Francesca Natali, Meta Group S.r.l.: “This funding allows entrepreneurs to look into the future with certainty. The investor wants to help find the right amount of money for that particular project. Evaluate its ability to attract investment and interact successfully with funders. The investor bets on a company’s potential for rapid growth. The venture eventually exits the company in the hope that they will regain the invested money plus interest. “Invest to exit”, placing money into a high-risk project and exiting the project at the end date with a decent profit.”

Francesco Pirro – SNO Yachts/ B SHIVER: “In 2008, during a profound state of crisis, we thought about joining this project. The business, thanks to this, was able to thrive, selling boats across the globe, even entering the US market. We are part of the SNO Group, but we have been able to open a cutting-edge location that is just Novamarine. Meta Venture believed in us providing capital, now we can face obtaining important investments.“

Genoa, 21st September 2019