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Message from the ICCC: Italian Agrifood Products are Increasingly Popular in North American markets, new Accelerator for Fintech Startups Opens in Milan, the Second Edition of the Canada-Italy Business Forum on Artificial Intelligence was a Great Success, …

December 22, 2020

Dear Members and Partners,

The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the state of the global economy and of trade between Canada and the world. The ICCC is here to help you get through this difficult period, by supporting you and your international business strategies.



Italian Agrifood Products are Increasingly Popular in North American markets

What makes Made In Italy product, especially food products, so attractive in foreign markets? According to a survey conducted by the Food Observatory, based on monitoring of a sample of around 160 Italian agri-food companies, it is the attention consumer pay to labels, quality, origin of the product and respect for the environment. These innovations in the sector contribute to the stability of exports, despite the pandemic. North America is the main destination market outside the EU for Italian agri-food products. In Canada, Ivo Petroff, main category buyer at Walmart Canada, confirms the growth in the performance  of Italian imports and encourages Italian companies to develop new digital strategies, invest in direct relationships with retailers in order to partner with them and set common goals. To learn more click here (article in Italian)


E-commerce: Visa Promotes the Digitization of Italian SMEs

Restrictive measures and lockdowns have led consumers to turn to online shopping. Transactions made on online sites in Italy increased by 20% compared to 2019, according to data reported by VisaNet in June 2020. The year, Visa has entered in a strategic partnership with four companies in the e-commerce sector (Axerve, Shopify, SumUp and Vidra), which aims to provide specific tools and innovative solutions to increase online sales and improve payment channels for SMEs and merchants. Some services which will be provided to the SMEs include; technical solutions to facilitate payments as well as professional training for the creation, management and promotion of online shops. To learn more, click here. (article in Italian)


New Accelerator for Fintech Startups Opens in Milan

The objective of the new CDP incubator is to support the development of financial and insurance innovation in Italy through a three-year acceleration program which aims to grow 50 startups, 16 per year, including 8 in the fintech sector and 8 in the insurtech sector. The selected startups will be able to count on initial funding and will benefit from a 13-week acceleration program supported by mentors, companies and investors. At the end of this program, the best startups will be rewarded with investments of up to 200,000 euros. Cassa’s office in Milan will become the operational headquarters of this accelerator, the result of a joint operation between CSP Venture Capital – Fondo Nazionale Innovazione, Digital Magics, Startupbootcamp and Fintech District. Learn more here (article in Italian).)


Italian Startup Creates an Algorithm to Write the “Perfect” Social Media Post

Using predictive artificial intelligence, Ailyn analyzes user choices across different platforms to anticipate trends and propose copy or content in Italian which can lead to higher engagement from a specific target audience. This tool, which helps create the perfect tweet or the most effective Instagram post, is useful for communication and marketing professionals, allowing them to maximize every message they want to convey. Learn more here (article in Italian).




New Restrictions for the Holidays in Quebec

The Premier of Quebec, François Legault, announced on December 15th, a series of new restrictions, including the closure of all non-essential businesses from December 25th to January 10th. The stores which can remain open will only be allowed to sell items deemed essential in order to be fair for other small businesses who will be forced to close their doors. Working from home will once again be mandatory for office workers whose presence in the office is not essential. Like secondary schools, all primary schools will remain closed until the morning of January 11th. In addition, from December 17th, outdoor gatherings will be authorized up to a limit of eight people and only in public places. Indoor gatherings remain prohibited, except for people living on their own, who will be able to visit members of a single family bubble. More information here.

Quebec is Increasing its Support for SMEs

In order to increase the support offered to businesses and better meet their needs, the Government of Quebec has announced major adjustments to the assistance measures intended for SMEs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional $ 50 million has been allocated to the Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises program, bringing the overall aid amount to $ 300 million. In addition, travel agencies will be able to benefit from the Tourism component of the program, which will provide support to more than 600 agencies. SMEs that already benefit from the program and that take advantage of the Assistance to Businesses in Regions on Maximum Alert (ABRUMA) program will be able to obtain additional financial assistance of up to $ 50,000. Learn more here.


Less Restrictions on the Sale of Alcohol for Restaurant Owners

As of Friday, December 11th, restaurateurs can use a delivery service operated by a third party to deliver alcohol (wine and beer) to their customers with a meal. Previously, only restaurants with their own delivery service were allowed to do so. In addition, restaurants are also allowed to set a different price for alcoholic beverages sold for take-out or delivery from those sold for on-site consumption, and alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption can now be sold without being served with food. More information here.


Canada and Italy Sign a New Bilateral Agreement on Youth Mobility

This new agreement will improve access to the labor market for young Canadians and Italians between the ages of 18 and 35. The International Experience Canada (IEC) program facilitates the process for young people to gain valuable international work experience and travel abroad. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a number of temporary measures being taken, including travel restrictions, this agreement with Italy will provide new travel and work opportunities as soon as the conditions allow. Learn more here.


The Second Edition of the Canada-Italy Business Forum on Artificial Intelligence was a Great Success

This virtual event organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada, with the collaboration of two Italian regions considered to be among Europe’s main innovation centers, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, was held from the 18th to the 20th of November 2020 with the theme: “The contribution of AI to the new normal”. The many conferences and workshops enabled two important territories in the field of artificial intelligence, Quebec (which is home to the largest academic research center on the subject, MILA) and Emilia-Romagna (the “data valley” of Italy which, in recent years, has made public investments of more than 300 million euros) to exchange and share their know-how with stakeholders and other institutions, including the Lombardy region. The fields of application of AI which the Forum discussed were: life sciences, health, smart mobility, logistics, and industry 4.0. With more than 800 participants and more than 60 speakers including some of the most respected experts in AI from both sides of the ocean, this edition of the business forum was a resounding success.

Featured in the Italian Press:
Emilia e Quebec stringono i fili Dell’alleanza transatlantica sull’AI (
AI is a filo che lega Italia e Canada (

Learn more here.

Our team remains dedicated to answer all your questions and to assist you.

We invite you to visit our website and social media platforms frequently for the latest updates.

Thank you for your continued trust and stay safe.

The ICCC Team |