Il ruolo degli intermediari finanziari nel sostegno alla ricerca ed all'innovazione tecnologica delle PMI

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The topic of the relationship between banks and enterprises, and the role played by financial intermediaries in the process of economic development, is currently the focus of a renewed interest due to the deep changes that are affecting both the financial and productive systems of the major industrialized countries. The need to encourage a repositioning of the firms to more knowledge-intensive compartments so to promote their international competitiveness highlights the need to identify also appropriate financing forms for the research and development activities. This issue is of particular interest if analysed with specific reference to SMEs, which represent a characteristic element of the Italian productive structure. The structural changes which have affected the Italian financial system, together with the modification of the regulatory framework, have also produced a change in the relationship between banks and SMEs and in the different contributions to the financing of these operators provided by major banking groups and local banks. According to these reflections the aim of this paper is to highlight the role that financial intermediaries may play in supporting research and innovation, with specific reference to SMEs. This could allow to outline the contribution that banks may offer to the revival of manufacturing districts that characterize the production structure of our country and that are affected by a deep crisis in their competitiveness.