Resources and development for a regional policy that invests in businesses

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In the 2021/2027 planning, Marche represents the first region in Italy for activated resources, compared to the number of businesses and the number of inhabitants. With 192.5 million euros, the Region ranks in particular at the top with reference to calls for tenders to support research, innovation, productive investments and credit for businesses; in first place for average value of resources activated per company (1,403.45 euros) and per inhabitant (129.98 euros). This is an analysis conducted on the basis of data available on regional portals. Results that derive from political choices and an important work of sharing and consultation carried out with trade associations and organizations with which it is possible to take a snapshot of the regional ecosystem, as well as define objectives and actions to be implemented.
There are 4 reference themes on which companies have the possibility of finding development with the funds available: Research and Development; Innovation; Productive investments; Credit. Among the new features: financing through POR FESR resources also from the world of regional cooperation, the use of credit funds for agriculture, particular attention to corporate welfare.
The resources activated with community funds amount to 49 million euros for research, 44.8 million for innovation, 70.4 million for productive investments and 20 million for credit. With a series of strategic actions based on administrative simplification, involvement of small companies and innovative start-ups, collaborations between companies and centers for research and innovation, digital and eco-sustainable transition, worker well-being including flexible working hours of work, income and family support, attention to health and free time.
Thus for applied research it is the speed of exit of the first call and the dedicated allocation that distinguishes the Region which supports projects with an advanced level of technological maturity and destined to end with the creation of a prototype. “Research and development to innovate the Marche” is the call, for 45 million euros, which stood out for its intense participation, leveraging administrative simplification, aiming to promote the strong involvement of SMEs, the collaboration of start-ups up as suppliers of innovation and the development of initiatives for the well-being of workers. 433 participating companies. 254 projects were presented, of which 180 from individual companies and 74 from chains of companies in aggregate form. 110 million contributions requested and 190 million proposed investments. 280 small businesses were involved, including 39 start-ups, 104 medium-sized businesses and 49 large businesses.
The investments involve the entire regional innovation ecosystem and involve important collaborations between companies, including small ones, universities, research centers, innovative start-ups and Digital Innovation Hubs. Projects that focus on the effective transfer of knowledge and innovative skills in production processes and on the grounding of research results to make a substantial contribution to economic growth, sustainable development, the centrality and safety of the person and social inclusion. The presence of 65 companies coming from other regions and intending to open a new investment headquarters in the Marche highlights the fundamental role played by support for research and experimental development as a driving force for attracting investments in our region.
In the innovation chapter, another record for the Marche region for speed of issuing tenders and dedicated resources. 16.7 million euros were allocated to the flow of two ERDF calls from the previous 2014-2020 programming to accelerate the digitalisation of production processes and strengthen competitiveness on international markets.
With the aim of supporting companies in a path of real transformation of products through digital technologies and ecological transition, the “Sustainable and digital product innovation” tender was published (application deadline 28 March 2024) which allocates 28 million euros to projects of innovation and diversification of products or services. It aims to strengthen and relaunch the national and international competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Marche region (SMEs) by bringing together the potential of digital with production sustainability (Twin Transition). The measures to strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs in the Marche range from support in projects for the creation and marketing of new or improved products or services through the application of solutions based on the twin transition (digital innovation and sustainability), the adoption of new marketing strategies useful for marketing the product in target markets, the introduction of new professional figures (temporary export manager and digital export manager) and rewards for the well-being of workers. The resources will be divided between the seven areas of the regional strategy for intelligent specialization (S3): home and furnishings, fashion and people, mechanics and engineering, agri-food system, products and services for culture and education, products and services for health, service economy. Five million are intended exclusively for the financing of projects presented by SMEs located in the historic villages of the Marche region registered in the appropriate regional list.
As regards productive investments, the Region has financed projects on the basis of industrial development plans of a strategic nature and with a high employment impact. Against a regional contribution of 37.6 million euros, 25 industrial plans were financed and 177.2 million euros of investments in research, development and innovation were launched (with particular attention to energy-environmental innovation). 803 new jobs expected. Three tenders have been activated for SMEs, artisan businesses and cooperatives, for a total of approximately 21 million euros. A significant number of applications were submitted, 469 for SMEs, 695 for artisans. The total planned investments amount to over 290 million euros.
The intervention to support production chains is highlighted. Furthermore, 11 network business projects were financed, with the involvement of 54 companies, generating 5.2 million euros in investments, compared to a regional contribution of 2.6 million.
Attention also to infrastructures for industrial research: with 3.3 million of regional contributions, three investment projects presented by regional technology transfer centers were financed, for an investment amount of 4.3 million euros.
Focus on the Credito futuro Marche measure to facilitate every type of business in the Marche region, in particular small businesses, artisans and self-employed workers who often find themselves in difficulty in accessing bank credit for their business.
For the 2021-2027 Community Programming, the Region intended to reorganize the credit support measures for businesses by identifying a single manager of all the instruments, to simplify and integrate the measures, obtaining important synergies in the pursuit of the objectives. The regional concession management platform is operational to provide support to Marche businesses in every sector. The first measure launched last January 29th, called the Fund for New Credit to Businesses, is aimed at promoting access to credit for micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the Marche region with an initial allocation of 20 million euros. A sum that can be increased, based on the responses and needs of companies, having a maximum usable limit of 91 million.
New tenders coming soon: 12/14 million euros for support for the definition of innovative strategies for the internationalization of companies. An allocation of 9.5 million euros for support for start-up and first investment projects, consolidation or network development of innovative start-ups. 20 million euros for energy saving projects or production from renewable sources for businesses.

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