“Manufacture 4.0“

Avv. Carlo Impalà, Senior Associate – Rödl & Partner

Research, innovation and technology, new tools for credit access, administrative and tax simplification, internationalization, integration of vocational training, research and craftsmanship.

These are just some of the key points of a law entitled “Manufacture 4.0” which was recently approved by the Lombardy Region, following the German model, in order to support innovation in manufacturing (especially in the food, fashion, automotive, furniture and design sectors).

There is European funding at stake, the so-called Axis 1 and 3 (allocated respectively to research and innovation and competitiveness of small and medium enterprises) for an overall amount of 580 million euro spread over seven years. In particular, in October, the Regional government will give the green light for requests to access financial resources reserved for enterprises that are using innovative digital tools, that have strong contacts with research centers, and which intend to abandon traditional models of “serial production.”

Below, the key aspects of “Manufacture 4.0”.

RESEARCH, INNOVATION, TECHNOLOGY – A fundamental element of the new law is the integration of vocational training as well as research and craftsmanship, in collaboration with universities, research centers and businesses. It also provides support for the design and purchase of innovative technologies and creative tools as well as measures to ensure purchases by the Lombardy Region and the regional system, through pre-commercial procurement and public procurement for innovation.

LABORATORIES AND WORKSHOPS FOR RESEARCH AND INNOVATION – It favors the provision of spaces, areas and laboratories for manufacturing, which will enhance – through specific agreements – real estate assets of regional entities and other organizations. As a start, for example, the real estate assets of the “Lombardy Region” or its subsidiaries will be made available, on favorable terms, to create incubators for new companies.

CONTRIBUTIONS AND ACCESS TO CREDIT – The law creates the possibility for introducing innovative financing instruments and capital, as well as the promotion of initiatives for financing spread (crowd-funding), also favoring private investments (equity, venture capital, business angels) in innovative enterprises. In particular, the new program “Start Up”, with an initial budget of 30 million euro will go into effect in October 2015. Afterward, the implementation of the Innovation Fund will support innovation projects, development and dissemination of ICT technologies, with the introduction of innovative business models and new quality standards: in the next 5 years the measure will make over 300 million euro available to SMEs through FESR resources, Finlombarda and the banking system.

ADMINISTRATIVE AND TAX SIMPLIFICATION – The law will further streamline and simplify controls, as well as administrative measures, with the assistance of agencies for enterprises or through agreements with other public entities. As for the tax authorities, concessions are expected in the first five years on a regional level, both for small and medium-sized firms as well as for start-up companies.

BUSINESS SUPPORT – Special programs for growth and internationalization are encouraged, involving measures to promote tourism and culture, university and cultural institutions. Those who take part in these programs will receive forms of support and warranty.

In addition to the provisions of law “Manufacture 4.0”, the Lombardy Regional government – in cooperation with Unioncamere – is working to simplify bureaucratic procedures through a new project which creates an electronic database for enterprises. It will be sort of like a digital dossier for companies, aimed at collecting all relevant documents and certificates and thus reducing the workload of control authorities.

Rödl & Partner

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