MIUR – Investing in innovative companies in Southern Italy

Published on 27 September 2019
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A new video case study has been published on the fi-compass website that features the financial instrument to support Research, Development and Innovation set up by the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR). This video includes contributions from the managing authority, financial intermediaries and final recipients describing the positive impact of investments by the MIUR financial instrument.

MIUR, a EUR 270 million fund of funds was set up in 2016 to address a lack of funding in the field of innovation in Southern Italy, which was estimated at the time to be EUR 700 million. A short presentation about the instrument can be found here on the fi-compass website.

The fi-compass video case study features a final recipient of this financial instrument, Roboze, a 3D printer manufacturer headquartered in the city of Bari. The innovative SME received a EUR 3 million equity investment that has enabled it to fund the design, prototyping and testing of a new line of 3D printers. This innovative technology will be used by Roboze to produce high performance components for aerospace, motorsport and other specialist sectors.

In Monopoli, about 45 kilometers southeast of Bari, Blackshape, another innovative start-up, specialises in the production of ultra-light recreational sports aircraft (VDS) made entirely of carbon fibre. MIUR has helped support the growth of this company through a EUR 1.8 million loan facility for its ‘Railcraft’ project. Through this project, Blackshape intends to create an innovative aerial platform prototype designed for the monitoring of the territory. The aircraft will be capable of operation either by a pilot (with auto-pilot) or by a remote piloting system. In addition, the project involves the development of avionics, control systems and land monitoring instrumentation, together with systems for the collection, storage and transmission of data. The Monopoli plant is already the second largest production site in the Apulian aeronautical district (south east of Italy), employing about 60 people. For the realisation of the project, the company intends to hire further highly qualified professionals from the region.

Itel is an SME in the biomedical sector that is also headquartered in the metropolitan city of Bari. It is a leader in the creation of diagnostic imaging equipment for the use in the treatment of significant diseases such as cancer. MIUR has through its equity investment enabled Itel to develop a project named ERHA. ERHA is an acronym for Enhanced Radiotherapy with Hadrons and is expected to be the next generation of particle therapy systems. The advantage of ERHA over existing systems is that it does not require the large infrastructure and extensive shielding that the current proton accelerators need. As a result, this new technology has the potential to make proton therapy accessible to local, smaller hospitals, thereby increasing access to this type of healthcare.

The three projects highlighted in the video case study demonstrate how ESIF financial instruments can support research and innovation across a wide range of different sectors. The fi-compass website also includes stand-alone videos (links will be available soon) from the companies and representatives of the managing authority and fund of funds manager that describe some of the steps taken to set up the financial instrument and how they work together to make it a success.