Italian government funds investment promotion unit
An investment promotion unit (IPU), funded by the Italian government, is seeking to provide technical and financial assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Kingdom to upgrade their productivity and enhance competitiveness.
The Italian-Jordanian project will be implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The IPU will be based at the JIB premises and will bring together the development know-how of the Italian and UNIDO private sector to provide entrepreneurs with a single, integrated program that delivers financial and non-financial services to local private entrepreneurs.
Monica Carco', head of the IPU, said the unit will function as a catalyst and will promote bilateral agreements and joint ventures between the two countries.
“The bilateral program seeks to enhance the scope of relations between Italian and Jordanian entrepreneurs,” Carco' told the Jordan Times.
She added that it will foster direct cooperation, both at institutional and enterprise levels, between Jordan and Italy, with a view to enhancing joint business activities, technology transfer and know-how. The unit will provide companies with integrated support ranging from the very early stage of negotiations to the final definition of an investment project.
The Italian Ambassador to Jordan Stefano Jedrkiewicz announced, at the launching event, that in order to promote implementation of the business ventures identified, formulated and promoted by the unit, the Italian government has also made available to Jordanian entrepreneurs a financial facility for acquisition of new technology and know-how from Italy. The soft line of 18 billion Italian lire ($8 million) is expected to enter into force soon and will be delivered through the local banking system.
The amount of a grant ranges from a minimum of $900,000 to a maximum of $1.6 million.
Through the advisory services of the IPU, technical and economic project evaluations will be finalized and submitted to the appointed Jordanian banks for the import of required Italian equipment.
She said industries that qualify for technical assistance have a priority list, and they include mining and marble, food and beverages, packaging, cold storage, Dead Sea cosmetics, information technology, metal mechanics, ceramics, garments and accessories.
“Any project that is viable will be screened, and a project profile will be formulated and promoted in Italy,” she said.
Only private sector enterprises are eligible for financing, with preference to equity joint ventures, employment generation, technology upgrading and innovation and using technology with low environmental impact.
SMEs, Carco' added, find it difficult to capture market opportunities and at times lack access to equipment, raw material, finance and consulting services.
“They might face difficulties in promoting and upgrading functions such as training, marketing, logistics, and technological innovations,” she said at the launching ceremony which brought together nearly 30 private and public sector officials.
Director General of the JIB Reem Badran said local manufacturers lack adequate marketing, as it is costly.
“This unit will boost the quality of domestic products so that they can compete on the world market,” she said.
She said the Kingdom needs to enhance the quality of local products.
The IPU works within the network of Investment and Technology Promotion Offices (ITPO) which UNIDO operates worldwide. In line with its mandate of promoting industrial cooperation between Jordan and Italy, the unit closely interacts and coordinates its activities with JIB, UNIDO and ITPO.
The Unit program of activities foresees, among others, the organization in Jordan of seminars and workshops (marketing, quality product, business plan formulation etc.), symposia for the presentation of Italian delegations of entrepreneurs and promotion of specific investment opportunities and the participation of Jordanian delegations to Italian and international investment fairs. ― (Jordan Times)
By Suha Ma'ayeh
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)