NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Italian Business & Investment Initiative (“IB&II”), an independent organization dedicated to promoting Italy as an attractive investment destination, today held its inaugural ‘Italy Meets the Unites States of America’ summit in New York.
The summit is the first of its kind and will serve as an annual gathering for Italy’s leaders to communicate directly with representatives from government, business, the investment community and civil society on the issues central to Italy’s future success.
“Two years ago, IB&II was formed to provide a forum for U.S. investors to gain access to talented Italian entrepreneurs and their businesses. Thanks to recent reforms passed by the Italian government, Italy’s place within the global economy is being reawakened and IB&II is proud to support that effort,” said Mr. Napolitano, Founder and President of IB&II. “Now is the time for investors to look at the significant investment opportunities Italy has to offer with fresh eyes, and we are excited for this summit to become a permanent platform through which leaders can showcase Italy’s strengths.”
Gideon Rose, Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Affairs, served as moderator of two panel discussions featuring esteemed leaders from Italian business and politics who spoke on the theme, “Italy: Opportunity Amid the Eurozone Crisis”. Prof. Vittorio Grilli, Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Giuliano Amato, former Prime Minister of Italy (1992-1993; 2000-2001), and David H. Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Italy and San Marino, discussed the forthcoming Italian election and the future of the eurozone.
Speaking at the Summit, Minister Grilli said: “Now is an important moment of transition in Italy. Companies realize there must be a new way of doing business and they can’t rely only on banks for funding.” Mr. Amato remarked, “The combination of austerity measures at the state and European Union levels is not conducive to growth – somewhere there needs to be stimulus.” Ambassador Thorne observed that now is a good time to invest in Italy and stated that, “The U.S. stands ready to support Italy.”
A panel of executives from leading Italian corporations discussed the current state of the Italian economy and opportunities in the Italian market for international investors. Speakers included: Mr. Andrea Ragnetti, CEO of Alitalia; Mr. Fulvio Conti, CEO of Enel; Mr. Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Eni; and Mr. Maximo Ibarra, CEO of Wind Telecomunicazioni. The panelists highlighted the significant, untapped investment opportunities in Italy, dispelling the perceived risk that currently plagues Italy’s economy.
Speaking about the state of the Italian economy, Mr. Ragnetti said, “The country is in better shape than it looks or is perceived. We have to be optimistic. Although Italy has improvements to be made, change can happen quickly.” Furthermore, Mr. Scaroni highlighted the country’s strong entrepreneurial spirit when he said, “Italy always finds a way to innovate. Creativity and design remain in the country and there has been much progress.” Mr. Ibarra commented on “Italy’s strong fundamentals,” noting, “Its manufacturing, the incredible wealth of its families and the small to medium-sized sector are attractive attributes for foreign investors.” Mr. Conti highlighted the fact that “Enel Green Power is one of the central investors in the U.S. renewable sector and is a market leader in the geothermal energy space” to illustrate how Italian companies are not only investors but also exporters of technologies.
Mr. Enrico Cucchiani, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo and a strong supporter of IB&II’s mission, said in a statement released today, “The strong industrial fabric of the country coupled with excellent research centers and universities can feed further future growth and we are confident that the next government, whichever it may be, will commit to the much needed structural reforms.”
About the Italian Business & Investment Initiative
The Italian Business & Investment Initiative (IB&II) is sponsored by a select group of leading corporations including: Alitalia, Booz & Co., Booz Allen Hamilton, Enel SpA, Enel Green Power, Eni SpA, Freeman Spogli & Co., Generali, GSE, Innogest SGR, Intesa Sanpaolo, Invitalia, McDermott Will & Emery, Mediaset, Method Investments & Advisory Ltd., Sirti, Studio Tributario e Societario STS and Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA.
IB&II has also established partnerships with representatives from the Italian government including Consulate General of Italy in New York and the Italian Trade Commission, in addition to support from various organizations including Associazione Laureati Luiss, The American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, the Business Association Italy America (BAIA), Fondamenta SGR, Fulbright BEST, The IPE, iStarter, Italia Camp, The Italian Cultural Institute of New York, Kaminski Partners, Kanso, the Mind the Bridge Foundation, M31, the National Italian American Foundation, Panorama This Is Italy, Reed Smith LLP, the Silicon Valley Italian Executive Council (SVIEC) and Why Not Italy?. For more information about IB&II please visit www.italianbusiness.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.