Italian shoes with Russian citizenship
The creation of the cluster was part of a project agreed between the government of the Novosibirsk region and the Lombardy Region to promote the Russian-Italian exchange.
Substitution of imports is a solution that many companies are resorting to to avoid losing market share in times of crisis. And the project of the Italian-Russian footwear cluster in Novosibirsk is a concrete example of this new business model
In recent years, the Italian footwear import market in Russia has almost halved. Due to the current ruble, the shoes produced abroad are too expensive for the Russians. And producers, in turn, are losing market share due to the lack of demand. In this context, the footwear cluster project, conceived as part of a project agreed between the government of the Novosibirsk region and the Lombardy Region, could provide interesting development opportunities, guaranteeing the Russian consumer a quality product compliant with European standards. With more attractive prices. On the Italian side the project was promoted by the engineering company Macsenior, specialized for over fifty years in programs for the creation and modernization of footwear and leather goods companies.
According to Irina Lanina, deputy managing director of Air, the Agency for the development of investments in the Novosibirsk region, the plan for creating the footwear cluster would have great potential in the current economic and financial situation. Many Russian companies, which produce abroad, are now ready to return to Russian territory. But some foreign companies hesitate to locate their production in Russian industrial areas.
"Italy has the best skills and the most advanced technology in the footwear sector - explains Vladimir Nikonov, CEO of Air -. It is a question of transferring this technology and this know-how to the Novosibirsk region. The cluster project involves the construction of 15 factories that represent all the links of the production process: from the finishing of the leather and from the assembly of the pieces to the release of the finished product. All phases will be included in a single production chain: this also includes the purpose of the cluster ".
According to expert estimates, the region will have the task of training at least three thousand employees, from managers to engineers and technicians. Therefore the fulcrum and the first ring of the cluster will be a sort of business incubator and on its basis the theoretical and practical preparation of qualified cadres for the footwear industry will be implemented. And a complex of laboratories will be activated.
“One of the most serious problems in the footwear sector is the lack of qualified personnel. To obtain effective results in terms of production, it is necessary to organize a system of ongoing training courses for managers - added Lanina -. And this is the main purpose of the incubator cluster. The training programs must be based on international standards and on the experience of Italian footwear designers and entrepreneurs. Participants in the cluster project must operate within the limits set by Russian legislation. A foreign company that intends to reside in the cluster must establish a Russian representation or a branch, which is a full-fledged legal entity. In this case you will have access to all forms of financing for investors provided for by Russian law ".
The issue of cluster positioning is currently being addressed. In particular, a series of variants that can also coexist are examined: the territory organized according to the "brownfield" principle on an underutilized industrial area of Novosibirsk, and according to the "greenfield" scheme, on an area that an enterprise is developing in the southwestern part of Novosibirsk, not far from Tolmachevo airport.
"The global trend is that manufacturers try to be closer to the market, but if we talk about shoes, the collections in this segment change rapidly - commented Gianni Scoponi, coordinator for the development of the international activities of the Macsenior company -. In Russia this trend has already been clearly expressed. The European producer does not "have time" to keep up with the needs of Russian consumers.
"The creation of a footwear cluster in the Novosibirsk region - he concluded -, is an extremely ambitious, but achievable goal, which is favored by the impulse given in Russia to the policy of replacing imports and also by the support from public structures, financial and organizational. The interest of Italian companies in creating a Russian-Italian joint venture in the territory of the Novosibirsk region also plays an important role. "