It is no mystery that France and Italy have been linked through a strong historical, cultural, and commercial tie for several years. The two nations seem to agree on several issues, including business matters, the Italy-France “Quirinale Treaty” dating back to 2021 is clear evidence of how both countries can boost cooperation and negotiations within the European Market.
Nowadays, France and Italy are major trading partners: France is the second-largest consumer and supplier to Italy, whereas Italy is France’s third-largest consumer and supplier. Only in 2019, before the Covid crisis, the trade volume between the two Nations was close to 90 billion euros.
We as Dedagroup Stealth are very proud of giving our contribution to the enhancement of the French-Italian relationship by taking part in the first cross-border initiative dedicated to training and business matching: the French-Italian Accelerator for SMEs and Mid-Caps organized by Bpifrance, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, ELITE, and Team France Export.
This exciting initiative was born with the aim of supporting the international growth and expansion of companies on the market. It represents a big chance to strengthen our business strategy, get in touch with innovative commercial models, and benefit from the precious cooperation between the two countries to position ourselves in the markets beyond the Alps.
The joint program will take two years and it consists of several bilateral meetings and training sessions involving around 40 French and Italian companies operating in the manufacturing and service sector. Specifically, the learning path is designed to improve each company’s skills through conferences and seminars provided by some leading Business schools in Italy and France: MIP Politecnico di Milano, SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, and Sciences Po in Paris.
Since the project kick-off, which took place last December, the pillars have been clear: consulting, learning, and networking. After attending three sessions, two in Paris and one in Milan in the stunning building of Borsa Italiana, I can definitely say “Yes!”, our expectations have been fully covered and I’m sure they will be until the end of the program.
Why can I say that? Of course, because I learned in the first person that even if Italy and France are only separated by the Alps, the details you must take into consideration when launching your business beyond the mountains are not banal. As Serge Besanger, Head of the Energy division at Leroy-Somer Italiana in Milan and Professor of Strategy at Sciences Po, points out, “despite the proximity and similarities, the two countries have well-defined characteristics, and they are not always complementary”.
Firstly, we should not underestimate the importance of the French language as English cannot be enough to target the market. Moreover, the French Representatives need proof to be logistically and financially reliable and trustworthy. That’s why French buyers generally tend to favor local suppliers.
Moreover, the French consumer is cautious and demanding, expecting quality and innovation. We should never forget that the French market is highly competitive in the fields of aerospace, energy, environment, pharmaceuticals, food & beverage, and the most important to us, Fashion&Luxury Retail.
This means that the products we want to launch in this market must be “unique” and meet the needs of the audience. For example, online sales have increased exponentially during the last two years, and they must be aligned with the consumers’ expectations like presales and aftersales services, reliability, promptness and so much more.
According to payments consultancy ATRADIUS, France has been severely affected by the COVID-19 which has impacted business throughout the country and has resulted in 44% of businesses reporting cash flow issues.
An interesting trend revealed by the survey is that businesses in France began using trade credit as a tool to stimulate sales and provide short-term finance to B2Bcustomers.
So, Italian companies should take a long-term view and be prepared to invest heavily in marketing resources when launching a new brand or product in France and we are ready to embrace this challenge and succeed!
It’s a French Public Investment Bank that finances French companies - at every stage of their development - with credit, guarantees, and equity capital. Bpifrance supports them in their innovation projects and internationally.
It’s the Italian National Promotional Institution that fosters sustainable development in Italy supporting growth, innovation, business competitiveness, and infrastructure development.
It’s a private market – part of the Euronext Group – connecting private companies with diverse sources of capital to drive their growth.
It was created to help French businesses succeed abroad. Supported by Business France, the French Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and France’s public investment bank, Bpifrance.
International Business Developer