Financial Support and Digitalization: Assopellettieri Solutions to Support the Italian Leather Goods

Federico Gianassi, Franco Gabbrielli, Cristina Giachi, Andrea Calistri.

Florence, 23 July 2020 - Aggregation, digitalization, internationalization, sustainability, credit and finance: these are the five pillars on which Assopellettieri focuses on relaunching the business. On Thursday 23rd July was held in Florence the event The States General of Italian Leather Goods Sector, organized by Assopellettieri and co-promoted with the Municipality of Florence with the aim to clarify the Italian leather goods sector situation consequently to Covid-19 emergency. Assopellettieri, since the beginning of this emergency, has fought to hear the alarm voices of the companies in the sector, a 9 billion euro supply chain (2019 data) which 85% consists of exports. The choice of Florence as the venue for this event has an important symbolic value: Tuscany represents one of the most important production districts in the world of leather goods, 60% of the Italian production comes from this region that represents one of the main economic assets.

During the morning attended Cristina Giachi Deputy Mayor of Florence, Franco Gabbrielli Assopellettieri President, Manlio Di Stefano Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Carlo Ferro ITA-Italian Trade Agency President, Mauro Alfonso CEO Simest Spa, Eugenio Giani President of Tuscany Regional Council, Andrea Calistri Assopellettieri Vice President and Delegate for the Tuscan District, Paola Castellacci CEO Adiacent Spa, Simona Bonafè MEP.

Franco Gabbrielli

«I would like to send a positive message, we need to react and we cannot wait: we have to strengthen our Association and work together to overcome the difficulties - said Franco Gabbrielli Assopellettieri president -. Assopellettieri has to do that, today. We invite all companies, from the smallest to the biggest one, to join us, each with its own characteristics and requests. The Association has the opportunity to discuss and interact with the Government; the funds are there and we can be the spokespersons of the companies in this step. Through the synergy with ITA-Agency, Simest and MAECI, the Association aims to offer concrete solutions for leather goods companies relaunch by providing answers to the liquidity, market and product crisis. Especially with Simest through the supply of advantageous loans and with ITA through initiatives designed to ease the internationalization process. Assopellettieri, through the Mipel digitalization and the Miss Bag initiative, is also proposed as a solution to give the opportunity to intercept markets ".

«You have a great task, making choices that will ferry this strategic sector into the future it deserves. We have an incredible patrimony that is in your hands, in your heads, in the work that you know how to inspire with your coworkers - the Deputy Mayor Cristina Giachi said at the opening, bringing greetings from the Municipality of Florence».

"Between Assopellettieri and ITA, the spirit of the system that concretizes the proposals bringing them to the end and guaranteeing their realization is stronger than ever - explained the president of ITA, Carlo Ferro -. ITA and MAECI continue to provide services useful to small and medium-sized enterprises and confirm the new editions of the September/October trade fair events in Italy. The incoming of international buyers from mainly intra-EU countries continues and gets stronger. The Silent Mipel Showroom is a new event, a post Covid version of the traditional Mipel showroom that will take place in an exhibition centre in the commercial heart of Seoul able to connect to the virtual fair and to the online commerce. Last but not least, the B2B platform that will put companies in contact with operators in foreign markets, ensuring remote meetings, autonomous exhibitions and business work ».

"The export agreement, recently signed by Minister Di Maio, is based on six specific pillars mainly declined on two concepts: strengthening Made in Italy on international markets and increasing the internationalization of the entire Italian economic district. These are communication, training, e-commerce, exhibition system, integrated promotion and subsidized finance. The latter is the beating heart of the reform: we have allocated 900 million euros, 300 of which are non-refundable. 70% of the resources are allocated for small and medium-sized enterprises - said Manlio Di Stefano Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation».

"The international scenario is complex but has to be interpreted as an opportunity to restart and cover incremental competitive positions compared to the past - explained Mauro Alfonso CEO Simest Spa -. Our role is to facilitate companies in the process of internationalization both with direct investments abroad and with the management of state funds such as Fund 394. We have made evolutions of this tool which affects 7 fundamental measures. The first relates to the participation in fairs and exhibitions reserved for SMEs, for which the financed amount is up to a maximum of 150 thousand euros; the second proposes insertion programs on non-EU markets by financing the opening of permanent commercial structures, the maximum amount that can be financed for both SMEs and companies of any size has been raised from 2 and a half million to 4 million euro. Feasibility studies are another financeable tool as long as they are linked to foreign investments: the maximum amount is up to € 200,000 for commercial investments and € 350,000 for productive investments. We also have the opportunity to finance technical assistance programs with which we support staff training in foreign investment initiatives, up to a maximum of € 300 thousand. The temporary export manager and the temporary digital export manager are figures that can be financed with the 394 Fund, up to a maximum of 150 thousand euros. We can also contribute to e-commerce by supporting companies through the use of their own marketplaces or platforms up to a maximum of 450 thousand euros. The last tool is the capitalization of exporting SMEs, whose maximum funding ceiling has been raised from 400 to 800 thousand euros. We are able to carry out the assignment procedures quickly and respond within 30 days, bypassing the guarantees of the credit system and being able to access a rate of 0.085%. It is also possible to use a non-repayable loan quota. In addition, we want to offer the leather sector, for participation in exhibitions and fairs and for Mipel, a series of measures including: subsidized financing up to 100% with a duration of 4 years, of which the first one is preamortization, at 0.085%; 50% of the costs relating to the equity investment granted without recourse; important news is that it will be possible to finance participation in international fairs that take place in Italy. Participation in fairs is therefore a commitment accessible to all operators».

«The institutions have to provide the necessary support, because the tannery and leather goods manufacturing system have to be strongly supported. The resources that come from Europe have to be translated into projects to be carried out together, I believe it is necessary to equip a real task force in this direction in the Region. An important synergy between the Association and the Region has to be created, in order to have projects ready when the funds arrive - was the comment of the President of Tuscany Regional Council Eugenio Giani ".

"One of the assets that Assopellettieri has and no one else has is the most important leather fair in the world, Mipel, which celebrates 60 years in 2021 - said Andrea Calistri, Assopellettieri Vice President and delegate for the Tuscan District -. And in September the fair will be there, together with colleagues from Lineapelle and Micam, with a completely new model to go with Italian companies towards a potentially global market.

We have already started working on a multitasking platform with a totally innovative format also from the point of view of the fair's tour: making it 'open' 365 days a year thanks to the digitalization of the fair system. In addition, the Miss Bag initiative will be launched in September: an iconic bag that all leather manufacturers participating in Mipel will be called to interpret according to their own style, thus also allowing companies that do not normally develop a product to create something of their own. exhibit all over the world ».

"With a business digitalization point of view, there are three considerations to think about - said Paola Castellacci CEO Adiacent Spa -. The first is the need to put together digital channels with the offline ones in order to improve a daily dialogue; the second is e-commerce which we have seen growing fast and in this lockdown period with 2 million new customers in sectors and age groups previously absent (+ 55% compared to 2019): we have to therefore evaluate which companies can benefit from these numbers; the third theme is globalization, to be reinterpreted from a digital export perspective all over the world. Digital must truly be central starting from training, also bringing new figures working in the sector to the company».

"Urgent and massive interventions are needed to ensure the economic sustainability of a supply chain that has always been a source of pride for our country - said MEP Simona Bonafè -. We need far-reaching innovative policies and measures, we need a national and European public enormous intervention like never seen before and an extraordinary commitment of citizens and businesses. At European level has been launched the largest recovery plan in the history of the European Union: a 750 billion plan of which 390 billion in direct subsidies. Of these, 208 billion will go into strategic investments in our country: I believe that the two areas in which to invest are sustainability and digital that will affect every part of the economy, society and industry. And this will require the transition from the current linear production to the circular economy. And the leather goods district has understood this for some time. "


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