09 July 2014
Project
The Project “Piacenza the Place”
09 July 2014
Initiatives and activities devoted to attract new investment in Piacenza: guidelines of the project promoted by Piacenza Expo, the Municipality of Piacenza, the Piacenza Chamber of Commerce
 
Introduction
The current economic crisis is putting a strain on the economic system of Piacenza: a region with a long tradition in mechanics manufacturing, agribusiness and constructions sectors, which is facing a decline in employment, as shown by the rising of unemployment rate, which reached 9,4 percent in 2014.

These elements are the result of different processes and of the interaction among sectors that are growing and carrying out good performances and sectors that, on the other hand, are facing an inexorable contraction. In this context, the story of each company is different from any other else, since expanding companies are in contrast with companies facing serious business contraction.
In a period like the current one, the opportunities provided by the attraction of new investments, from both local and external investors, are one of the options to take in urgent consideration.
 

Getting ready the territory for economic recovery
Piacenza is characterized by many historical productive vocations and some recent innovations; we can mention, among the former, the sectors of advanced mechanics, fittings and agriculture; among the latter, the evolution of logistics, in addition to the R&D activities in all the sectors.

The economic recovery is likely to be based on a “smart” use of the opportunities of the local system, on the search for new areas of development of local manufacturing capabilities and also on the increasingly importance of the service sector.
The economic decline requires business strategies and the good policy actions can fold it, as long as right interventions are chosen and business orientation is towards concrete results.
An important segment of this program consists of the new programming period of Structural Funds  2014/2020, with particular reference to the identification of the smart specialization, in terms of proposal for strengthening the territorial competitiveness, the place marketing and the development of a sustainable attraction of new investments that meet the needs of the local system.

It is required to fit into the ongoing process, in particular by catching the opportunities provided by the Smart Specialization Platform that, with reference to the expanding fields of regional economy, has introduced three possible alternatives:
-supporting investments in specific sectors to be revitalized;
-developing potentially strong sectors to be exploited in the future (environment, green technology, welfare services, ...);
-supporting the strengthening of new segments, aimed at enhancing the competitiveness both of the products on some specialized global value chains and of the local system.

 

Guidelines from the City Council
The City Council has the objectives to strengthen the productive system, to create new jobs and to protect pre-existing employment; among the new objectives, there are the development of the pre-existing fabric and the attraction of new external investments, with particular reference to the headquarters of Mnes.

 

Piacenza Expo’s Role
Piacenza Expo is a local company focused on enhancing local economic resources and developing new interactions with the outside world; in addition, it concentrates its business on active interventions to support the local economy.
In particular, Piacenza Expo is a candidate as a subject which promotes place marketing, in terms of attraction of new interest in the area of Piacenza in order to support the local business, and also for its opening to the outside, organizing a series of tools meant to encourage the establishment of a control room to attract investments, in compliance with the respective institutional roles.
In this context, Piacenza Expo presents itself as a candidate to foster activities that will be carried out in coordination with all local authorities and it proposes a partnership with the Municipality of Piacenza, in particular, addressed to local developmental.
 
These initiatives will be included in the regional planning framework and, in particular, will be oriented to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the regional law on the attractiveness, approved in July 2014, in order to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of local productive system for national and international investors.

 
Steps of the proposal
Starting from the identification of the competitive positioning, location factors and elements of territorial attractiveness, the project will follow three main directions:
1. Recognition of areas and opportunities to locate  (the Offer)
The project has mapped the local offer of areas for productive activities, greenfield, brownfield and conversion initiatives. The survey is carried out with institutional representatives and covers both public and private areas, in accordance with the specific features of urban destination.
The offering is illustrated by a technical and detailed sheet that takes into account not only the specific features of the area, but the positioning, the environment (utilities, infrastructure,...) and the location factors focused by Piacenza-the-Place.

2. Identification of the Location Factors, looking to define the “good reasons to invest in Piacenza”: the features of economic productivity, skills and employment aspects, training, infrastructures, innovation and internationalization, in order to make Piacenza reach a better position on the international market and bring out the "good reasons" to establish business here. These “reasons” are confirmed by some strategic testimonials, Italian and Foreign companies that have already chosen to locate in Piacenza.

Among the attractive elements, it must be mentioned the simplification of procedures and the establishment of a One Stop Shop for the new settlements, which involves, through a SINGLE referent, the local authorities and the stakeholders  in cooperation with the Sportello Unico per l’edilizia e le Attività Produttive (see the Services Network and Piacenza-in-Figures). 

3. The results of these activities (third line, last but not least), allow to start the first contacts with national and international companies through the realization of concrete workshops and events starting with the upcoming Fairs scheduled in Piacenza.
During some of the international Fairs, Piacenza Expo organized dedicated events in order to create a synergy between territorial and business promotion. In the meantime, we are starting the work to create an initiative involving national and international players to exploit the opportunities of Piacenza, promote it as a quality business location and turn the spotlight on Piacenza-the-Place.