What initiatives are you planning for the promotion of Made in Italy in the footwear-skin sector?

“As the ICE Agency,” says Maria Maddalena Del Grosso, “we support international fairs such as Expo Riva Schuh in their promotional efforts in foreign markets, just as we support Italian exhibiting companies. In addition, we finance the incoming of foreign buyers, journalists, bloggers and influencers to Italian trade fairs, as well as the incoming to the various Italian production districts such as Riviera del Brenta, Tuscany, Campania, Marche, etc. We also fund the participation (in terms of exhibition space and promotion/communication) of Italian companies in foreign fairs that promote Made in Italy, such as Moda Italia Shoes From Italy in Japan, Coterie in NY and Chicago Collective. Actions to promote Italian companies on e-commerce platforms and at large buying groups also continue, as does the Nation Branding campaign to promote Made in Italy in various countries.”

Why is Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags such an important business platform for you?

“International trade fairs that take place in Italy, such as ERS, are extremely important events,” says Damiano Francovigh, “because they catalyze the attention, also thanks to the support of ICE Agenzia, of sector operators (buyers, journalists, bloggers, etc.), so as to increase networking for exhibiting companies. Exhibitors also have the opportunity to gather a lot of information and ideas with respect to those countries. All this makes fairs such as ERS become key platforms for promoting Made in Italy in the world, even in the most distant and lesser-known markets.”

In addition, as Maria Maddalena Del Grosso points out, “ERS is a privileged meeting point between international supply and demand, with exhibiting companies able to produce large volumes, and therefore with differentiated lines able to meet the retail demand of different countries in the world. Not to mention that ERS is able to intercept demand from emerging countries, making Italy an international hub for matching supply and demand for footwear and leather goods. On the visitor front, the international profile of the fair increases visibility and promotes Italian companies in foreign markets.”

Are there any collaborations planned with ERS & Gardabags?

“We are working on scouting a growing number of markets in addition to the traditional Southeast Asian markets. I am thinking, for example, of Latin America, where there are interesting countries like Mexico, or sub-Saharan Africa,” says Maria Maddalena Del Grosso.

What should Italian companies focus on?

According to Damiano Francovigh, Italian companies today need to focus more and more on digitization, also at the level of staff training, in order to reach foreign markets more easily: “A prerogative that particularly concerns SMEs, which must open up to international markets in order to stay alive and grow.”

Maria Maddalena Del Grosso, on the other hand, stresses how the demographic decline in the West, with the consequent economic downturn, combined with the difficulties related to the advent of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine lead to the need for Italian companies to rethink their traditional positioning and open up to new markets. “I’m thinking, for example, of India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, where Italian companies can position themselves at the high end of the market, as well as establish profitable manufacturing partnerships. But other interesting and new markets should also be considered, as mentioned earlier: sub-Saharan Africa, which has very high middle class growth, and Latin America, with countries such as Mexico and Colombia, which offer interesting growth outlets for Italian companies.”

Maria Maddalena Del Grosso
Damiano Francovigh