Analysing the births and deaths of active businesses gives a glimpse of how worsening markets have affected them. In Veneto the business population balance in 2008 was negative, -0.75%, the lowest balance recorded in the last fifteen years. Veneto, however, still ranks third among Italy's regions for the number of active businesses, with 8.7% of the national total.
Italian businesses are being affected by a clear selection process, one that has brought about a continual drop in the weight of agriculture and industry on the economy as a whole. It is clear that Veneto's production system is shifting towards the tertiary sector, a process that is growing stronger in the largely industrial Veneto and one in keeping with the trends of the main economies.
The biggest increase in active businesses is in the business service sector, a feature confirming the trend that the labour force is moving towards some important economic activities in services.
The trend in artisan businesses, which had grown fairly rapidly up to 2007, went into reverse in 2008 with numbers falling by half a percentage point on the previous year. This negative figure can be explained by the unfavourable trends in sectors with a high share of artisan businesses.
A propensity towards innovation is one of the main components behind the positive performance of the region's system. In Veneto, 40.9% of businesses claimed they had introduced some form of innovation during the three-year period 2005-2007, a figure that is much higher than the one recorded for the rest of Italy (31.2%).
Although Veneto is starting to show some dynamism in the field of innovation, it is emblematic of the Italian model of "innovation without research and development". In Veneto investment, however, has developed notably in recent years, and there was a 22.7% increase in expenditure on R&D in the last year.
This study confirms the strength of Veneto's business fabric: at one year the business survival rate stands at around 92%, at two years it is higher than 85%, at three years it is 80%, and at four years three out of four businesses are still active. Manufacturing businesses tend to survive longer than tertiary businesses.
(Chapter 3 in figures)