The Italian case of blockchain for SMEs
As part of our research, the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) investigated the blockchain context and policy in several countries of the European Union (EU), amongst which Italy. Differently from others, the Italian government adopted initiatives that are directly targeted at Small & Medium-sized Enterprises, in the hope of endowing Italy with a competitive regulatory framework vis-à-vis other countries, and to attract European Start-ups and SMEs.
Amongst the most relevant initiatives UIIN highlights:
a) The Blockchain Advisory Board:
Originally launched in December 2018, the Blockchain Advisory Board has the goal to continuously investigate ways to spread the use of blockchain technology amongst SMEs, to create a favourable legal and economic environment for them to adopt the technology, and to investigate already existing blockchain case studies. The board brings together blockchain experts from the academic, industry, and non-profit worlds.
b) The Italian National Blockchain Strategy
The National Strategy, launched in 2020, comprises a set of recommendations that were put together with the collaboration of the Blockchain Advisory Board for the Italian government to gradually implement. Once again, the strategy was produced with the goal of creating a favourable environment for SMEs and start-ups that want to deploy and invest in blockchain technologies and to attract new ones from abroad. From the educational perspective, the strategy aims to introduce ‘vertical training courses’ with a high level of specialisation for STEM, law and economics higher education, as well as the presence of transversal modules in all higher education and university courses.
c) OECD & Italian Ministry of Economic Development on blockchain for SMEs and entrepreneurs in Italy.
The study investigates the development of the blockchain ecosystem in Italy, against the background of the SME and entrepreneurship structure and trends in the country. The report analyses in particular the characteristics and trends of companies introducing blockchain-based services in the Italian market, opportunities and challenges to their business development, sectors and firms being targeted, and relevance for enhancing digitalisation and productivity in the SME population at large. The study also illustrates recent trends in regulation and policy and provides policy recommendations.
d) Blockchain for Made in Italy Traceability
The Italian Ministry of Economic Development with the support of the IBM group (business) has launched a free training programme, named ‘Blockchain per la tracciabilità del Made in Italy’ for SMEs in the textile sector and its supply chain with the goal to:
- Implement blockchain technology in Italian SMEs to guarantee traceability, based on the following fundamental dimensions: quality, origin, environmental and ethical sustainability.
- Identify (in cooperation with SMEs) and showcase all the fields of applicability of blockchain technology for SMEs.
- Restore of competitiveness of SMEs in the textile sector.
- Create ans SME blockchain network.
- Improve competencies and performance and purchase innovative equipment and technologies.
The programme is divided into 4 steps. The image provides a summary of the structure and content.
Authored by Mario Ceccarelli, Junior Project Officer at UIIN
Featured image (1) from Azhar Muhammedu from Pexels.
Featured image (2) retrieved from MiSE website.
Featured image (3) retrieved from MiSE & IBM report
Resources in English
IBM-MiSE. (2019). Blockchain for Made in Italy Traceability. Italian Ministry of Economic Development. https://www.mise.gov.it/images/stories/documenti/IBM-MISE-2019-INGLESE.pdf
Resources in Italian
MiSE. (2020). Blockchain per la tracciabilità del Made in Italy: Origine, Qualità e Sostenibilità. Italian Ministry of Economic Development. https://www.mise.gov.it/images/stories/documenti/Presentazione_MiSE_v41_sessione1.pdf
MiSE. (2020). Blockchain per la tracciabilità del Made in Italy: workshop. Italian Ministry of Economic Development. https://www.mise.gov.it/index.php/it/blockchain/blockchain-per-il-made-in-italy#workshop