Boosting South Tyrol’s Economy – Fostering Innovation

Business Location Südtirol’s (BLS) aim is to bring innovators from South Tyrol together under one roof. BLS is the lead contractor of NOI Techpark Südtirol/Alto Adige and responsible for the planning, tendering process and implementation of South Tyrol’s largest innovation centre located on the site of the former Alumix works in the south of Bolzano. BLS was commissioned by South Tyrol’s government to develop the 12-hectare site and acts as a point of contact for enterprises and institutions wishing to lease or develop space at the Techpark.

Between 2009 and 2015, BLS was active as a business location agency for South Tyrol and played a key role for the development of South Tyrol as a business location.

A Driver of Development and a Pioneer in the Filming Industry: the History of BLS

2009–2015: a Business Location Agency for South Tyrol

Ever since BLS came into existence back in 2009, it has been a highly committed driver of development fostering South Tyrol’s economy. Until 31 December 2015, BLS was a competence and service centre for business locations and commercial estate, developed South Tyrol as a film location, managed the film production fund and promoted South Tyrol as an attractive business location and living environment both in Italy and abroad.

BLS’s mission encompassed six key fields:

Investing in South Tyrol: Promoting the Business Location and Providing Company Services
Finding the Right Business Location & Commercial Estate: a Centre of Competence
Filming in South Tyrol: Subsidising and Supporting Productions and Developing the Location
Living and Working in South Tyrol: Promoting the Business Location and Providing Services for Skilled Professionals
Green Mobility: Supporting Eco-Friendly Public Transport
NOI Techpark Südtirol/Alto Adige: Planning, Positioning and Marketing

Multilingual, innovative and supportive: promoting South Tyrol as a business location was among the core tasks of BLS. BLS was active in this field for seven years and successfully established South Tyrol’s excellent reputation among the German-speaking countries as an attractive location right where the North and the South come together. BLS attracted many innovative companies from abroad and fully supported them establishing a business in South Tyrol. Within Italy, BLS successfully positioned South Tyrol as the “Green Region of Italy”: eight out of ten companies in Italy perceive South Tyrol as the most important location for the renewable energy industry.

BLS provided location services to nearly 500 local and international businesses as well as 90 municipalities from South Tyrol. To this end, BLS coordinated public investment in commercial estate, company subsidies for land purchases and municipality funding for land development: the overall investment sum for companies and infrastructure totalled 125 million Euros. As a result of their work, South Tyrol now has a unique database for commercial real estate containing approx. 600 properties, which makes it considerably easier for companies to find the perfect location for their business.

BLS’s production funds totalling 5 million Euros per year brought approx. 150 film and TV productions to South Tyrol – both from Italy and abroad. BLS supported these productions in the run-up as well as during and after shooting, thus generating territorial effects (spending in South Tyrol) of approx. 38 million Euros. The numerous measures of BLS targeted at developing South Tyrol as a film location including training programmes and a directory of more than 500 professionals in the film industry significantly contributed to South Tyrol’s rise as a film location.

Exciting jobs, for example in key fields of industry such as Alpine Technology or Renewable Energies, and the high quality of life make South Tyrol the perfect place to live and work for highly qualified professionals from Italy and abroad. BLS actively promoted the recruitment of skilled professionals from abroad, supported them during their first time in South Tyrol and improved the networks with local companies by launching initiatives such as the BLS Recruiting Events with approx. 650 high-potential candidates.

South Tyrol travels “green”. BLS headed numerous green mobility initiatives aimed at promoting South Tyrol’s public transport and make transportation even more climate-friendly. The Roadmap Smart Alpine Mobility, for example, one of the strategies launched by BLS, was designed to turn South Tyrol into a model region for sustainable Alpine mobility. Since 2013, South Tyrol has hosted annual roadshows promoting electromobility all over the province. In 2014, BLS ran South Tyrol’s annual bike competition, seeing more than 2,600 bikers cover nearly 2.5 million kilometres.

BLS has been an integral part of the technology park’s strategic development ever since the early planning stages. Back in 2012, South Tyrol’s government assigned the planning and development of the site to BLS . BLS is thus directly responsible for the development, the tendering process and the implementation of the first building projects on the site of the former Alumix aluminium works located in the south of Bolzano. In cooperation with several partner institutions, BLS worked on the strategic positioning of the park and developed the “NOI – Nature of Innovation” concept.

2016: Merger and Reorientation

On 1 January 2016, four South Tyrol organisations became one. BLS (Business Location Südtirol), SMG (Südtirol Marketing), TIS innovation park and EOS (Export Organisation Südtirol) merged to form a joint organisation: IDM Südtirol – Alto Adige. Most of the missions of the previous organisations became an integral part of the three pillars of IDM – Innovation, Development, Marketing. In the course of the merger, BLS handed over most of its former tasks to IDM Südtirol as well as other public organisations and offices and is now only responsible for the planning, the construction projects and the development of NOI Techpark (as of the beginning of 2016).