managing partner Alessandro Dragonetti Get to know Alessandro Dragonetti

Small and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs are businesses that maintains revenues and number of employees below certain limits. For this reason, and due to the objective difficulties in attracting capital, States and regions usually implement specific support measures for their benefit. In Italy, SMEs are defined as enterprises which have fewer than 250 employees, an annual turnover not exceeding € 50 million and/or the annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.

In this framework, Innovative SMEs are defined as enterprises which have fewer than 250 employees, an annual turnover not exceeding € 50 million and that respect at least 2 of these three conditions: 3% of the company’s expenses can be attributed to R&D activities; at least 1/3 of the workforce must hold a Master’s degree alternatively at least 1/5 of the total workforce are PhD students, PhD holders or researchers; the enterprise is holder, depositary or licensee of a registered patent (industrial property) or holder of rights on a registered software.

In order to benefit from the tax advantages issued under the Italian financial manoeuvre the so-called “Industria 4.0”, innovative SMEs must met at least 2 of the 3 requirements and must register in the special section of the Italian Business Register, specifically created by the Chambers of Commerce.


Open Innovative Pmi Project

  • Open Innovative PMI is a multidisciplinary project aimed at monitoring, promoting and fostering the best Italian innovation, by giving greater visibility to businesses with high potential to grow.
  • The project consists of 5 different and connected sections: the Award, the Conference, the Observatory, the Academy and the Incubator. Due to its informative function the project relies on a web platform
  • Open Innovative PMI achieved a broad consensus between Institutions and authorities which have granted their patronage and their operative support such as – Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico (MISE), AIFI, ANDAF, CNR, CRUI.



This is the first national award exclusively dedicated to innovative SMEs and is devised and organized by Bernoni Grant Thornton. The award is aimed at monitoring, promoting and fostering best Italian innovation, by giving greater visibility to businesses with high potential to grow, supporting innovation culture and economic and social development in Italy, giving also a new impulse to the “open innovation” projects.

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The award ceremony is preceded by a round table where representative of institutions, universities, research entities and the business community discuss issues related to innovation. During the conference, the annual edition of the Report by the Observatory on Innovative SMEs is also presented, drawn up by Grant Thornton with the University of Pisa and providing an overview of the trends charactering the scenario of Italian innovative SMEs.



The Observatory on Innovative SMEs is a unique research panel on innovative SMEs which carries out its research activity at Grant Thornton with the support of Department of Economics and Management of the University of Pisa.

Professor Giulio Greco is the scientific supervisor of the panel.

The aim of the research panel is to monitor and analyze innovative SMEs under an ongoing and long-term perspective, to identify their demographic, economic, organizational and strategic trends.

The results of the panel activities are disclosed through reports, conferences, articles and presentations.

The Annual Report is downloadable on



The Academy is a structured programme for all companies, including those that still don’t know they are innovative SMEs.

In the dedicated section of the website, companies will find a training path which consists of 7 different modules that will help them winning the certifications necessary to access the Incubator.



The Open Innovative PMI Incubator is dedicated to innovative SMEs who successfully completed the Academy formation programme.

This section is set to showcase companies to domestic and international markets as well as funds and potential investors with an appetite for full or partial acquisitions. Companies in the Incubator are grouped according to the industries they operate in, thus allowing a needs-based and agile research for visitors.