Finlombarda’s commitment to support financial innovation

Finlombarda Spa is the in-house public financial institution 100% owned by Lombardy Region and a financial intermediary supervised and authorised by the Bank of Italy. We interview Michele Vietti, Chairman of Finlombarda Spa, to know more about its fintech goals in the next months

This is the first time that a regional financial institution has joined Fintech District: what are the reasons that led you to become a corporate member?

Finlombarda Spa is the in-house public financial institution of Lombardy Region. Its mandate is to help promote the economic development of the regional territory through financing initiatives also in partnership with the banking system. We believe that this partnership should also extend to fintech operators and it is with this in mind that we have joined Fintech District. To start and maintain a constant dialogue with market operators active in fintech credit in order to develop new internal skills and new products that can also use the most innovative financial services: these are priority objectives for us. The use of new technologies today represents an important opportunity both for the management of the liquidity emergency of businesses in the post-Covid19 and to restart by looking to the future. The recent initiatives promoted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti with the opening of the territorial office in Milan and the new accelerator for fintech and insurtech startups, and that of Bank of Italy with the fintech hub, confirm that partnership with the sector is a way forward to develop products that facilitate access to credit for firms, even those of smaller size and in the start-up phase.

Finlombarda and fintech: have you already launched projects of this kind?

In June of last year we opened a public call addressed to all economic operators looking for innovative and technologically advanced solutions in the areas of supply chain and inventory financing. The call was answered by 16 operators who proposed as many intervention hypotheses with the direct involvement of the regional finance company. A financial product is now being studied that will make use of the application of advanced technologies and the collaboration of market operators. The choice of offering alternative financing options for SMEs and Mid Caps is not new to us. Examples of this are minibond and basket bond for the growth programs in Italy and abroad and the establishment of an alternative investment fund called Credito F.A.C.I.L.E. to facilitate easier and faster access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises and professionals in Lombardy.

Is Finlombarda active in open innovation? If yes, with which projects?

Finlombarda promotes open innovation processes on the regional platform Open Innovation, a collaborative environment that counts more than 20 thousand participants among companies, research centers, public administrations and citizens. We are convinced that for SMEs collaborating and confronting each other increases the competitiveness and helps to restart. In particular, we support SMEs and start-ups in the launch of local, national and international ‘open challenges’, which aim to involve the best skills of the territory and seek innovative solutions to business projects in different areas, from manufacturing 4.0 to cybersecurity and greentech, and in the presentation of initiatives that respond to social, environmental and economic challenges for the achievement of the UN 2030 goals for sustainable development. In addition, as coordinator of Simpler (Enterprise Europe Network), Finlombarda offers free guidance and specialized support services for innovation management, participation in European research and innovation programs, protection of intellectual property, identification of business and technology partners for research projects and technology transfer around the world, contact with investors interested in financing the projects of assisted companies. For 2021, specific services are planned to support the ‘green transition’ of companies and the access to the new European research and innovation investment programme Horizon Europe. Finally, in the framework of Smart Specialisation strategy for Lombardy (RIS3) 2021 – 2027, open innovation and collaboration with Fintech contribute to the strengthening of Lombardy’s research and innovation system.

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