Italian good news: Blue Economy startups, a business worth 143 billion in Italy
- WTI Magazine #169 Nov 17, 2023
According to Assonautica data, in Italy, the sea economy is worth 143 billion, which is equivalent to 8.9 % of GDP. There are 228,000 companies operating in the sector, with 914,000 people working in the sector, allowing a picture of a thriving situation for the Italian Blue Economy.
The business is capable of generating a lot of wealth thanks to the great strides made by technological innovation and the increasingly sustainability-oriented approach. Italy is maturing a new awareness that is increasingly "maritime" also from a cultural point of view, witnessed by the birth of hubs and university courses supporting employment policies and economic development in the sector.
Our country is witnessing a proliferation of realities that are increasingly betting on youth, female and foreign entrepreneurship. Looking at the dynamics of our country's entrepreneurial fabric, the report shows a significant increase starting with accommodation and food services (109,000), which accounts for 47 % of the sector, while in second place are sports and recreational activities (34,000), accounting for 15.1 % of the sector. This is followed by fishing (33,000), shipbuilding (28,000) and the movement of goods and passengers by sea (12,000).
The most virtuous region in terms of incidence of enterprises in the sea economy is Liguria (10.5 %), followed by Sardinia (7.2 %) and Sicily (6 %). There are almost 21 thousand blue youth enterprises, while the sectors with the highest presence of operating entities in the sector again pertain to accommodation and food services, the fishing industry and sports-recreational activities, which are also the sectors with the highest presence of female and foreign enterprises, except, in the latter case, for a higher concentration of foreign labor in the shipbuilding industry (8.4 %) instead of the fishing industry.
There are many Italian startups in the sector and two, in particular, have won the "Call for innovation - Sport in the blue economy" promoted by Blue District in collaboration with the I3P incubator of the Politecnico di Torino. They share a blue vocation that has led them to the development of innovative solutions, with programs that focus on the usability of the sea, wellness and the use of sustainable reusable materials.
Such as, for example, Northern Light, founded in Gorizia, Friuli Venezia Giulia in 2020 and focused on developing cleantech solutions with natural fibers, recycled materials and sustainable resins for boating. The startup, moreover, holds an important record, as it has created the world's first one-design hull that is entirely recyclable.
And then there is Tuscany-based Moebeus, which has been spreading circular economy principles since 2021 through analytical processes and a technological tool developed with the University of Siena. Among their projects is Tour4Blue, the digital platform that aggregates and makes usable tourist offers and products to practice water sports, so as to experience both the coast and the sea in a sustainable way. An idea that earned them, in fact, the victory of the "Call for innovation - Sport in the blue economy."