08 Aug 19
08 Aug 19
ELITE partners with Intesa Sanpaulo to launch female entrepreneurship cohort ELITE in partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo is launching the first group of businesses entirely dedicated to female entrepreneurship together with Confindustria and the Bellisario Foundation.
  • The new ELITE Lounge, in partnership with Mediocredito Italiano, part of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, includes 20 companies dedicated to gender diversity, with either female leaders or a high percentage of women employees
  • This is the fourth class of the ELITE Lounge in partnership with Mediocredito Italiano, which currently numbers a total of 85 companies
  • ELITE counts 1,224 companies, 752 of which are Italian
  • The aggregate turnover of the 20 new companies amounts to €900 million, with the total number of employees in excess of 2,200 people
  • ELITE is London Stock Exchange Group’s business support and capital raising platform dedicated to companies with a high growth potential

ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group’s business support and capital raising platform, today welcomes the fourth edition of the ELITE Lounge in partnership with Mediocredito Italiano, the first entirely dedicated to female leadership. ELITE welcomes 20 new Italian companies that pay a high level of attention to gender diversity and have a strong female presence, thanks to its strategic partnership with the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, through Mediocredito Italiano (the group organisation dedicated to SMEs) as part of the multi-year collaboration with Confindustria, which has, from 2009 to date, been involved with numerous initiatives and innovative instruments to support Italy's economy.

The new group is designed to incorporate companies with female leadership or which employ a high percentage of women. The Bellisario Foundation has also been involved in identifying these companies in a joint Women Value Company programme with Intesa Sanpaolo for promoting women at work.

In a complex and uncertain economic scenario, the contribution made by women is becoming increasingly important. The untapped potential is enormous. In 2018, according to a survey conducted by the Intesa Sanpaolo Research Department, presented as part of the Women Company programme, Italy had already been confirmed as having one of the lowest female participation rates in Europe: 56.2% of all women aged between 15 and 64 years of age (only Macedonia with 52.2% and Turkey with 38.3% are worse than us). There has been an improvement compared with the past, but at a very slow rate, which is keeping Italy well away from the average European levels (68% in 2018 for eurozone countries).

In the context of a job market which remains "difficult", posts occupied by women have increased slightly: according to Unioncamere data, in 2018 there were 2.5 million women in administrative posts in Italian companies (27.6% of the total, 0.34% more than in 2017). The majority of women in positions had founded their own company or own shares in it: in 2018 there were 1,337,000 female-owned businesses, 6,000 more than the previous year, a figure which is around 22% of total companies.

The feminisation rate of companies is higher in regions in southern Italy (23.8%, peaking at 27.8% in Molise and 26.7% in Basilicata), where the growth rate recorded between 2017 and 2018 was around 50%. The greatest feminisation has been confirmed in companies in the areas of services (50%), healthcare (37.7%) and teaching (30.2%), but there has also been strong growth of women in tourism (+1,960 businesses in 2018) and in professional, scientific and technical activities (+1,480 businesses). The strong contribution made by foreign companies to growth should be noted: in 2018, 4,500 new companies headed by women out of 6,000 were foreign.

With the entry of this new group of businesses, representing 10 different sectors and hailing from 10 Italian regions, thanks to the partnership with the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, ELITE now numbers 1,224 companies with aggregate revenues of over €85 billion employing more than 500,000 people.

ELITE is London Stock Exchange Group’s business support and capital raising platform established at Borsa Italiana in 2012 in conjunction with Confindustria. Its goal is to accelerate business growth through an innovative organisational and managerial development path aimed at making already worthwhile businesses even more competitive, more visible and more attractive to investors globally.

The objective of the ELITE Lounge in partnership with Mediocredito Italiano is to offer an exclusive environment within the ELITE international network, which offers bank customers a network of opportunities, expertise and value.

Luca Peyrano, CEO, ELITE, commented:
“We strongly believe that the future of our country is linked to the capacity to strengthen and support virtuous companies. Today, we are delighted to welcome 20 new companies with strong female leadership capable of making a tangible contribution to the growth of Italian entrepreneurship. It is important to continue to develop female talent and ELITE, together with the Intesa Sanpaolo Group and Confindustria, shares a strategy dedicated to supporting the Italian business fabric paying increasing attention to the issue of gender. ELITE's commitment in this specific area is part of a wider plan of London Stock Exchange Group, which by 2020 is intended to achieve a female presence of 25-30% on the main Boards of Directors of the Group and 40% in all corporate components and at all levels of seniority”.

Stefano Barrese, Head of Domestic Commercial Banking at Intesa Sanpaolo, stated:
“Through this initiative, in just over one year, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group with ELITE and Confindustria has accompanied almost 90 companies on an extraordinary journey of encounters and growth. For us, it is a source of great satisfaction and confirmation of the importance we attach to the world of SMEs and their development projects. Today, specifically, we are welcoming 20 identified female companies, together with the Bellisario Foundation, which are some of the excellent companies that are part of our joint Women Value Company programme, now in its third edition. By strengthening relations with partners such as ELITE, Confindustria and the Bellisario Foundation, we are convinced of being able to offer Italian businesses a shared prospective and strategic vision to bring out the quality and unique nature of our SMEs”.

Lella Golfo, President of the Marisa Bellisario Foundation, said:
“The journey of developing virtuous SMEs, which began three years ago with the Women Value Company Award, has given surprising results and we have accepted this new challenge with great enthusiasm. The project promoted by the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, ELITE and Confindustria has already achieved extraordinary results and I'm sure that the group of female led companies that we have played a part in identifying will know how to take advantage of the great opportunities on offer. We are fully convinced that Italian women and small and medium-sized enterprises represent the true resource for growth and change and that in Intesa Sanpaolo we have found an attentive and forward-looking partner. Together, we will continue to invest energy and resources to give those SMEs which focus on women and innovation space and visibility, producing wealth and progress for the country”.

Marcella Panucci, Director General at Confindustria, stated:
"We have been committed in the front line to the ELITE programme since its inception. We have invested and we continue to invest to promote it and to advocate the participation of associated companies. For this reason, we are very proud that another 20 companies have joined us on this journey of growth and excellence. A large part of ELITE's success is due to the fact that, first and foremost, it is a programme for growth and not only for alternative funding and listing. What our SMEs need most of all is actually to be placed in a position where they can compete with European competitors by strengthening their financial structure, through cultural development and improving the corporate assets that human, financial and organisational capital represent. The distinctive feature of this new class is that it is entirely made up of female companies. For this, I must thank Intesa Sanpaolo, with which we have a well-established partnership thanks to the Agreement with Small Industries, and the Bellisario Foundation, with whom we have enjoyed a partnership for many years involving a wealth of initiatives. Through the Women Value Company programme, which they promote, it has been possible to identify businesses in which the female contribution is a decisive element, providing added value. It’s a resource to rely on especially when deciding to undertake a complex journey of growth which may offer access to financial and capital markets as its objective".