Invest in Italy: Lombardy and Milano

Learn about investment opportunities and on how to grow your business overseas and internationally with ICCO Canada and Promos Italia.

Italy is one of the top economies in the EU with a domestic market which offers many opportunities: key manufacturing enterprises and clusters, a highly skilled workforce and R&D, which combines traditional excellence and innovation. The Made in Italy expertise and uniqueness have brought competitiveness at a global level, attracting investments in many sectors from around the world.


MilanLombardy is the wealthiest region in Italy and one of the strongest economies in Europe. Its business community and its renowned international environment support the landing on the Region of more than 60% of all the direct foreign investments in Italy. Milano is a global city. As Italy’s business capital and innovation hub, 2nd in the EU for fastest growing startups, Milano offers amazing opportunities to foreign companies and startups investing here and is a great place to live and work for executives, employees, researchers, and their loved ones. Lombardy accounts for a surface area of 24,000 km2, and a population of 10 mln inhabitants being the most populated Region in Italy and third in Europe. Lombardy is also known as the Italian business locomotive being the first region for:

  • GDP with €384 bln (23% of the national total), and second in all of Europe
  • N. of companies with more than 816K enterprises on the territory
  • N. of employees, counting more than 4,2 mln people employed in the region
  • National FDI attracted, €44.4 bln in 2021 (24.7%)


Lombardy also hosts more than 6,300 multinational companies and 3,200 start-ups (26.% of the Italian total). All this with a strong infrastructure network of 1,920 km of railways, 4 international airports, and 700 km of highways.

The over 5,000 foreign-owned businesses operating in Milano generate a turnover of about €221 bln – 35% of the total generated by foreign companies in Italy – and employ around 496,000 people.

2nd EU city for fastest-growing start-ups, with a birth date of 38.6 newborns per 100k inhabitants, Milano has a great variety of incubators, accelerators, and innovation hubs, many of which are recognized internationally.

With 12 Makerspaces and Fablabs, Milano ranks first in Italy and among the top ones in Europe for the number of laboratories of digital fabrication.



Lombardy is the leading region in smart and clean energy, it’s the Italian region that produces the most renewable energy (18% of the total). Lombardy is particularly active in the transition to a sustainable economy, it favours the development of new technologies aimed at the recovery of waste and the production of energy from renewable sources. It has in fact always been one of the leading regions in Italy for waste disposal (73.3% of waste is recycled). Out of 531,000 companies that have invested, or will invest, in green technologies in Italy, Lombardy Region ranks first with more than 90,500 companies (17% of the national total). The Region is home to 3 Lombardy Technological Clusters for CleanTech: an integrated system of businesses, advanced technological and scientific knowledge.

Milano ranks first among Italian cities, thanks to its branched and appreciated public transportation systems, advanced car-sharing services, efficient water network, high level of waste collection, and high turnover of second-hand sales activities. Forestami is the project promoted by the City of Milan, together with other major territorial public bodies, to plant 3 mln trees by 2030 with the aim to grow natural capital, clean the air, improve life in greater Milano, and counter the effects of climate change.

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Many fintech companies choose Milano as a destination for their headquarters or regional hubs, thanks to the city’s favourable environment for startups and early technology adoption, as well as its broad expertise in financial and technological solutions. The city is a vibrant international financial hub, home to over 13,800 financial companies, including the Italian Stock Exchange, and over 70,000 financial services employees.

Milano is a thriving ecosystem that has seen 45% growth in the number of fintech companies and 70% growth in revenue, with 41% of all the fintech firms in Italy located here. In 2022 there are 120 Italian insurtech start-ups active that have raised €450 million in investments (+61% vs. 2021). Milano represents the main hub of Insurtech in the country, being home to 35% of all theinsurtech companies in Italy, and raised alone €31 mln in 2022.

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Lombardy has a long tradition in the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) sector both in terms of market value (€19 bln of digital market value) and number of employees, with almost 270k people employed. Compared to other Italian regions, Lombardy is the one that reported the most in 2022 in the sector, with €6.8 bln exported. It’s also the most developed Italian region in the data centre sub-sector with 31 data centres located in the Region out of 89 nationwide.

Milano is experiencing a strong drive for innovation in the ICT industry and the city’s 13,500 ICT companies confirm its pivotal role in digital transformation. 1,578 innovative startups dealing with ICT (21,5% of the national amount) chose Milano as home town, also considering the opportunities offered by the city’s growing VC ecosystem: €1.3 bln invested in the first semester of 2022 with a growth rate of +90% compared to 2021.

40% of investments were addressed to the ICT industry, indicating the trust investors place in Milano.

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Life Sciences

Lombardy is the first region in Italy in the life sciences sector thanks to a large number of companies, research and development bodies, and human and financial resources present in the area. The production value is equal to €74.5 bln, while a value-added that amounts to €27 bln. Lombardy is also the first region in Italy for the number of Professors and researchers involved in Life Sciences activities, and first for the number of patent applications and clinical trials. It hosts 32 research centers and 19 Scientific Institutes for Research, Hospitalization, and Healthcare.

Milano is home to the world’s largest life sciences companies. The city represents 28% of the Italian biotech sector. Thanks to its deeply-rooted entrepreneurial fabric, 11 top-ranked universities, 347,000 Life Sciences employees, 130,000 skilled healthcare workers, and state-of-the-art research hospitals, Milano is already home to >250 biotech companies, Life Science trade bodies, and Human Technopole, Italy’s new research institute for Genomics and Computational Biology based at MIND – MilanoInnovation District.

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The following are only some of the most recent success stories of North American investments in Lombardy.
CAE is a Canadian high-technology company, manufacturer of simulation technologies, modelling technologies, and training services to airlines, aircraft manufacturers, healthcare specialists, and defense customers to airlines. CAE chose to invest in Lombardy opening a new training center in Milan in 2019. For its activities the company needs specialized skills, in this regard, Lombardy Region can offer both technical schools and Universities, important assets for structuring an effective pipeline employees and talents.
Jaguar Health
Jaguar Health, Inc. is a US-based company focused on developing and commercialising proprietary plant-based human gastrointestinal pharmaceuticals from plants harvested responsibly from rainforest areas. In 2021, Jaguar Health’s subsidiary, Napo EU, in Milan, Italy. Promos Italia supported the company throughout the process of establishing Napo EU in Milan providing support for location scouting, hiring, and engagement with the local financial community. The investment led to 10 new hirings in the territory and an estimated CAPEX of €10.000.000.
WeWork is a USA-based shared office provider. The company offers private office spaces with various amenities. In December 2019, WeWork opened its first coworking space in Milan and has, to date, a total of 5 locations. Promos Italia supported the company with the location scouting process and with aspects related to building renovation. As of today, the company employs around 15 people in Milan, with a first estimated investment of €2.000.000.
Vantage Data Centers

Vantage Data Centers was established in 2010 in Santa Clara, California, and then relocated its headquarters to Denver, Colorado, US. In February 2020 they announced a new opening in Milan with a campus that will be located on more than 12 hectares. Once fully developed, the campus will offer 64MW of critical IT load with 300W/SF(3.2kW/M2) average density. Vantage aims to spend $2bn to open data centers in five European cities, Milan being one of them.

US-based PPG Industries, a provider of protective and decorative coatings, in 2022 opened its new central powder coatings research and development center for Europe in Milan, Italy. The center will focus on powder coatings product development, demonstrating advanced powder technologies, and providing customer and technical support. It will include a customer application center, and a design and color showroom, and will serve customers in Europe.
Champions Oncology

Champions Oncology is a data- driven research organization, with headquarters in the United States, that leverages an oncology research center of excellence to develop transformative technology and accelerate oncology R&D. In 2022 the company opened a new laboratory at the OpenZone Life Sciences Campus in Bresso (MI). This will serve existing as well as new European clients within the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industries.

EFI is headquartered in San Franciso, California, and is present in Italy as EFI Reggiani. EFI Reggiani is a global leader in integrated solutions for the textile industry, with a focus on the development of green and environmentally friendly processes. EFIReggiani provides high-quality machines across the globe for apparel, sportswear, home textiles, and outdoor and signage applications. In 2022 they announced plans to expand operations with a new textile campus in Comun Nuovo (BG), Italy with a 20,000 sqm facility.

ON Semiconductor (Onsemi) designs, manufactures, and markets semiconductor components for electronic systems and products worldwide. In 2018 the company announced the opening of a new design center located in Milan, Italy. This Design and Industrialization Center focuses on power management products developed for big data, web services, hyper-cloud computing, and server customers. Again in 2022, Onsemi announced the expansion of its centre in Milan creating new jobs.


Find out more details on investment opportunities throughout Italy.

Any companies interested in evaluating set-up or expansion opportunities in any of the Italian regions highlighted in the map are invited to contact the Promos-ICCO Canada team directly at for further information.

Click on any of the highlighted regions on the map below to discover investing opportunities

or contact us at


Invest In Italy

On Thursday, November 10 at 9:30 am (EST) a presentation and discussion on investment opportunities and on how to grow a business overseas and internationally was organized in collaboration with Promos Italia.

During this information session our speakers/presenters provided an insight on Italy as a land of investment with focus on specific areas which offer investment incentives, and public support to foreign direct investors.


Presently ICCO Canada and Promos Italia are working together to create, promote, and reinforce the business relationships between Canadian and Italian partners, companies, and investors, focusing on Cleantech, Fintech, ICT and Life Sciences.
Promos Italia

Promos Italia is the National Agency of the Italian Chamber of Commerce network that offers institutions, governments and chambers of commerce, industrial groups, investors, and SMEs a wide range of tailor-made services and the possibility to design specific capacity-building and business development programs.

In particular, it supports the attractiveness and competitiveness of the territories in relation to national and international operators, enhancing attractive locations and the ability to intercept new investments. Thanks to a dedicated team, PromosItalia sustains the business world, local authorities, and the set of territorial ecosystems by providing know-how, experience, and dedicated territorial marketing tools, such as:


  • Creation of the offer of industrial property and value proposition of the territories
  • Promotion and lead generation of foreign companies and related investment projects in the territories
  • Support and accompaniment of foreign companies in the territories in investment/enlargement projects