Friday, November 11, 2011 | 9:49 AM
The Internet represents a great opportunity to boost growth and employment in Italy. A new McKinsey report confirms that the digital economy contributes 2% of the Italian GDP and has created 700,000 jobs in the past 15 years. By next year, McKinsey concludes, the digital economy could generate 3.5% of Italian GDP.
Yet much more can be done. Italy still remains far behind Internet leaders such as the UK, where the Net’s contribution to GDP is estimated at 7%.
More than 30 companies now have joined together in an effort to help Italy achieve its true Internet potential.These include private and public companies as well as universities, that came together under the name of “Digital Advisory Group.” Google is playing an important part in this initiative as a founding member.
The Digital Advisory Group has identified 12 concrete areas for boosting Italy’s digital economy. In order to encourage venture capital to invest in Internet start-ups, the VC industry needs to benefit from a similar tax scheme used to encourage filmmaking in Italy - and a fund-matching system should be established managed by the a fund-matching mechanism managed by the public Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. Another plan is to launch region road shows to help Italian small and medium-size business get online. For details on all the recommendations, please look here. Please feel free to suggest your own ideas and solutions in this interactive tool.
In many ways, it is no surprise that so many important Italian businesses and institutions are gathering together to embrace the Internet. Italy’s relative digital backwardness signals a giant opportunity. If the country embraces the Net, it could benefit from catch-up growth – an alluring prospect in these difficult economic days. It’s time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and get to work.