Intesa Sanpaolo promotes companies that have excelled in digitisation processes

The image accompanying the News on "Crescibusiness Digitize in Tour", a traveling program in 120 stages to tell the story of the digital innovation of 120 companies, portrays the young owners of a flower and plant shop in front of their business

Intesa Sanpaolo supports and promotes businesses in the craft, trade, tourism and restaurant sectors that have successfully digitalised their operations: they are the focus of "CresciBusiness Digitalizziamo in Tour", a journey of 120 stops to tell the stories of the digital innovation of 120 companies spread throughout Italy.

Digitalisation is in fact a priority for smaller companies, in both their production processes and in their contact with customers, as shown by an analysis by the Intesa Sanpaolo Studies and Research Department on companies with fewer than 10 employees, that are more than 4 million in Italy – 95% of total industrial and service companies.

Digital transformation is also a sustainability priority for these companies, favouring, among other aspects:

  • a lower environmental impact, for example in the use of paper
  • offering services to customers remotely
  • digital payments

as well as the use of other levers that can simplify highly impactful processes.

"Crescibusiness Digitalizziamo"

Digitalizziamo is part of Intesa Sanpaolo's broader CresciBusiness programme, a €5-billion plan to support artisans, traders and small hoteliers, who make up the bulk of Italian businesses, to help them revitalise through digitalisation, sustainability and business development projects.

The objective of "CresciBusiness Digitalizziamo in Tour" is to showcase the stories of 120 virtuous companies operating in the craft, retail, hotel and restaurant sectors, in cities and smaller towns – individual or family businesses that stood out among the 2,000 candidates for the "Digitalizziamo" programme for:

  • digitalisation of internal processes or sales channels
  • digitalisation of communication of promotional initiatives or for loyalty processes
  • web and social presence
  • digital push of payment systems and banking relationships

A local delegation of the bank, together with its Regional Director, will visit them one by one, gradually crossing the entire peninsula, according to an innovative formula that combines harnessing the digital transition with a local touch.

Moreover, thanks to the support of partners Alkemy, Cerved, Monitor Deloitte, Nexi and Visa, companies participating in the "Crescibusiness Digitalizziamo" programme will have the opportunity to be included in a visibility and development process that includes access to advanced services and training.

MICRO-ENTERPRISES AND THE DIGITAL CHALLENGE – an analysis by the Intesa Sanpaolo Research and Studies Department

In Italy, there are more than 4 million companies with fewer than ten employees: 95% of all industrial and service companies. They also have a very high weight in terms of employment: they employ around 7.6 million people, 43.1% of the total. The make up the biggest group in Italy. In 2021, they recorded a turnover of €775 billion (23.6% of the total).
This is a mainly Italian phenomenon and a crucial competitive factor for supply chains active in Italy: in Germany, the weight of micro-enterprises in terms of employees does not reach 20%; in France it is less than 30%, while in Spain it is 35%.
The role of these companies is significant in all Italian economic sectors, with peaks of 93.5% in the real estate sector (out of the total number of employees in the sector), 80% in personal services, 74.5% in professional activities, 61% in accommodation and catering and in construction and 55% in trade. The weight of these companies is smaller in manufacturing, where they still account for 21.2%. They are also widespread in all areas of Italy: their presence is greatest in the South (56.5% in terms of employees), reflecting the high weight of services, but is also significant in the other regions. In the Centre the figure is 44.6%, while in the North it ranges from 35.3% in the North-West to 39.4% in the North-East.
Thanks to an internal survey within the Intesa Sanpaolo group, the main critical issues encountered by micro companies at this stage were identified: cost increases stand out, followed by difficulties in collection and in finding labour. Efficiency, self-production of energy and diversification of procurement are the actions taken to cope with the complex external environment.
Looking forward, the main challenge remains improving productivity through the spread of digital tools: according to surveys conducted by Intesa Sanpaolo, digitalisation is considered a priority even for smaller companies, in both production processes and contact with customers. Analysis of the latest surveys reveals a steadily increasing focus by micro companies in digital innovation in recent years. Generational transition will be crucial in this respect, given the greater sensitivity of young people towards the environment, digital and innovation.