#covid19 – The role of Italian micro-enterprises during the coronavirus crisis

The crisis generated by Covid-19 clearly highlighted the vulnerability of Italian micro-enterprises (which risk bankruptcy in a very short time), but also the strength of those which are still tiny, but well-structured, which with few employees and with due caution, they can continue their important service activities to maintain the functionality of the country’s economic structure. I need to recall that 90% of Italian companies are micro-enterprises.

During this emergency period, staying active means not completely cancel the response to the needs that mature and guarantee them in a short time.

Italian hospitals and their staff (doctor, nurses, etc) are currently the only levee for spreading the infection. Much is done by the civic sense of the population (despite the resistance of those individuals who unfortunately put the system in difficulty), but if the efficiency of the health system were to be interrupted, with all its supply chain both organizational and supply, it would be apocalypse .

Fortunately, the workers in the essential sectors react immediately, guaranteeing the functionality of the system even at the minimal speed.
What arises from this period is that while many large companies are forced to completely close and/or try a “reconversion” small or micro enterprises are already looking to pivot and finding new market niches that could guarantee their survival in the post-crisis.
Personal masks and respirators with single-day or permanent filters of very high efficiency and acceptable cost, protective systems and accessories with self-disinfection characteristics for commonly used objects, made with new materials, created specifically for the containment of bio-burden. Chemical research, in both the public and private sectors, dedicated to tackling the expansion of the infection with highly effective and low environmental impact disinfectants and detergents.
This is Italy’s answer. After the initial phase of the infectious wave has passed, it is now taken for granted that the effects are not quantifiable now and it is not possible to predict how long they will affect our future life, some elements will be the cornerstone of a future new social and economic policy.
Governments (perhaps even with decisions at European level) will obviously have to be able to:

  • Structuring aid to ancillary businesses (those that supply goods that are not absolutely necessary but that are an integral part of the western system) those that have a duty to encourage research and operations of businesses deemed essential. In the case of the health compartment, companies must be improved and benefit from reinvigorated infrastructures (hospitals, nursing homes, rest homes and clinics), but also to facilitate convention and directive paths with the structures responsible for centralizing information, data analysis and intervention protocols, in manner to standardize the effect of the decisions taken, and possibly change them quickly and univocally, so that it’s possible to have statistics that are absolutely valid, with data that can be read and interpreted univocally, by everyone.
  • Facilitate the validation processes of new medical devices and possibly shorten the authorization times for the use of new drugs, those considered effective, which are currently long, which delay negatively impacts the rapidity of the responses that could stem the epidemic.
  • Allocate economic incentives for the enhancement and technological expansion of companies in order to increasingly develop the possibility of working remotely.

And it is precisely on this latter issue that actions will focus on, being able to better face possible future threats, since if physical isolation is a necessary condition(and in the future might be), this isolation cannot affect the operations of small businesses which, being so numerous, they actually support the nation’s economy.

In any case, facing a problem of global dimensions prevents you from thinking autonomously locally.
In conclusion, the role of small and micro-enterprises is vital and essential for the health of the Italian economy.

 

By: Luciano Berti, Treasurer of Miami Scientific Italian Community; President and CEO of B.M. Sanitas, Hospital medical supplies, Importer in Italy and distributor for European and U.S. Manufacturers.

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