Marco Gay, President of Confindustria Piedmont: Confindustria is a great accelerator of excellent opportunities

As an organization, Confindustria facilitates meeting people that you can learn a lot from, who have already had experiences similar to yours and who can give good advice

“The time that Confindustria “takes away” from my company and my family, is a time that has great value for me and it helps me understand the dynamics of the economy, the value of innovation, technological transformation, and makes me a better entrepreneur.”

Marco Gay, President of Confindustria Piedmont

What do Confindustria and relevant associations mean to you in that sense? Has your experience in Confindustria affected your career as an entrepreneur?

I have been in Confindustria Torino since 2003. I wanted to meet other entrepreneurs and cooperate with other professionals who supported me. This was, first and foremost, consulting and technical support, which was needed at that time for my company to grow.

After that, I was the national president of the young entrepreneurs of Confindustria, that is, the whole Italy. Today, I am no longer a young entrepreneur, but just an entrepreneur, a senior one, if you will, and the President of Confindustria Piedmont. This development path, for me, represents a great social development and gives me pride because, in the Association in which I made my first steps and I founded my first company, I am privileged today to be able to represent the territory of Piedmont and its great industrial capacity.

The first Italian digital innovation centre was founded in Piedmont. What impact did it have on companies and people?

The Piedmont Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) certainly gave a boost at one point, if we are talking about Industry 4.0, as it motivated and initiated the first steps. It also had another important aspect, and that was the assessment of the competencies of the companies that were supposed to join the Hub.

“Digital Magics is the first Italian accelerator, and today an important player in the European ecosystem”

This was very important in helping to understand this topic, which was relatively unknown to companies only a few years earlier. Today, thanks to the digital innovation hub, there is a greater understanding, so I believe that DIH played a very important role in the various stages of the evolution of companies and their maturation.

Innovation and technology are, in a sense, part of your DNA. Could you tell us something about the world of Digital Magics? How does your incubator/accelerator work?

Digital Magics is an incubator for start-ups. It is innovative, listed on the stock exchange in Italy, on the technology market, which supports ideas, talents and competencies. We support all those who want to be entrepreneurs, to develop their start-up in the digital world and the accelerator helps such people to grow. We help with our own experiences and networks of contacts, but also by giving capital. Digital Magics is the first Italian accelerator, and today an important player in the European ecosystem.

In May 2021, we published an industrial plan that has one clear goal – to increase the value of our portfolio and investments to 100 million euros. The idea is to increase the number of participants, as well as to develop the consulting segment in the field of digital transformation, which we have been conducting after the acquisition of a company called Dei Doers. Fintech and insuretech are two sectors where innovation can make a really serious transformation of a mature market.

We are also continuing to implement the 5G acceleration project and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) which have a strong influence on industrial evolution which tells us that we are moving in the right direction. Sustainability is another key point when it comes to technological and energy transition. This is a very important and relevant topic because start-ups in all sectors are the bearers of a new vision based on sustainability.

My greatest satisfaction is the impact that Digital Magics has on the ecosystem and the growth of startups across the board, including the need and the process of growing talent, exceptional talent and changes the world of innovation. Acceleration programmes and further growth of companies and people, give me the satisfaction to continue working.

Could you give three pieces of advice to beginners?

I have quite a few opinions, rather than advice. I will tell you what we see as good qualities of startups – they are certainly courage, readiness and ambition to do something that does not yet exist, or that transforms what already exists. It speeds it up and changes it, so the first piece of advice would be to be determined to reach that goal. Furthermore, you have to have the ability to recognize when you can no longer achieve this, so be realistic. Because there may be a need to change the business model or accelerate investment growth, you need to have a lot of awareness, which is achieved when you have a good team. Another piece of advice concerns having a good and competent team, to help the startup lift off and take the first steps. That is very important.

“One of the central focuses should certainly be to encourage venture capital investments”

The third point/advice is that, in addition to believing in the idea itself, you need to believe in the value of logic, innovation and one’s own idea and seek growth in the direction of internationalization. It is good to start in your city in your region, but after that, you need to have the ambition to look beyond the borders of your nation within a year or two, because then you get a chance to grow, to find new partners, new investors and new business opportunities.

The Government of Serbia has digitalization in the focus of its development in the coming years. What do you think are the best measures to support the start-up ecosystem?

The best way to support a startup ecosystem goes in three directions: always have trust because startups can be a good testing lab. Then simplify the processes and enable the creation, growth and development of a company from a startup. Concerning venture capital (investments), it is necessary to know how to attract them and this is the task of startups, but it is also necessary to favour them through tax exemptions.

Marco Gay, President of Confindustria Piedmont

It should be said that whoever invests in venture capital for at least two or three years, should be granted tax relief of at least 50%. The third point that should be at the centre is the ecosystem is to facilitate the network of contacts between stakeholders who manage to favour growth and open innovation and large, medium-sized and small enterprises. Startups should have an easier path, and be supported and assisted by the government.

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