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Culture, business and local development: a new soft power for Italy

  • Parma
  • 14 May 2023
  • 15 May 2023

        Italy has a major competitive edge based not only on its unparalleled historic heritage but also on a deep-rooted tradition of knowhow that has long been a demonstration of a constant propensity for innovation. The creative thought at the origins of an art that has been able to communicate with humanity for centuries has generated a Made in Italy brand that is recognized admired and copied the world over.

        None of this would have been possible without the cooperation of all the economic actors and social agencies that occupy the many spheres of Italian excellence. Culture, business and territory are fundamental interlinked aspects not only of Italian soft power but also of the country’s very development. Without culture and centers of knowledge, businesses would be unable to grow and find the human capital and innovative ideas they need. Neither could they do that in the absence of a thoughtful territory that responds to the economic needs of and dialogue with industry. At the same time, a country devoid of entrepreneurialism and culture is destined for decline.

        This interdependence, which becomes a co-creator of value, is essential to the task of confronting the ecological and digital transitions awaiting Italy. Indeed, a company’s long-term success depends on the sustainable development of the territory and of the local reality in which it operates. This kind of cultural change is known as “stakeholder capitalism”, where the creation of economic value for stakeholders is balanced by the broader value distributed among all the interested parties. That is why sustainability (environmental, social and economic) is not seen as a set of rules aimed at reigning in entrepreneurial impetus but rather as a paradigm that must permeate and radically change business models themselves.

        Such change requires time and, obviously, the capacity for a systematic approach; an ability rooted in many of the country’s centers and embodied in the model of region of Emilia and centers such as Parma, which have proved over the years to be capable of uniting the energies of local actors in the achievement of common development goals.

        The shared efforts of businesses, cultural bodies, institutions and citizen communities is the bedrock of a robust territory. The capacity to join forces is the essence of the soft power of so many Italian regions, from which the country as a whole can draw positive examples to apply on a national scale.

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