ECIPA is the Service and Training Agency of CNA Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, the regional representations of the National Confederation of Craftsmen and SMEs with more than 30.000 SMEs in the two regions.
ECIPA, ISO 9001:2000 TQM certified and recently become the joint office of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, is part of a national network of agencies with regional and provincial offices throughout Italy and with a national headquarters in Rome and a representation office in Brussels.
The ECIPA central office is based in Venice, while the 37 local offices are located in the several districts of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The Veneto region, whose the economic sector is mostly made by Small and Medium Enterprises, is a manufacturing leader in several sectors such as haute couture, footwear, wood-furniture, plastic and agricultural equipment as well as food processing, light mechanics, home appliances and construction materials.
The economic context of Friuli Venezia Giulia is mainly represented by SMEs of the following sectors: agriculture and fishing, trade and restaurant industry, facility services for companies, building construction, facility services for individuals.

ECIPA deals mainly with vocational, cultural, technical and economic training of entrepreneurs and employees (on the average: 300 training courses per year for 4.500 beneficiaries), as well as with regional, national and transnational projects and studies in order to foster innovation and business competitiveness of SMEs at local and international level.

ECIPA carries out the following activities at local and regional level:
– training courses for entrepreneurs and managers of craft and small-sized enterprises
– professional qualification and follow-up courses for craftsmen and their employees
– training, assistance and counselling for the establishment of new enterprises
– training for CNA employees

ECIPA provides the following services at local and regional level as well:
– planning and counselling service for national and international activities
– planning and counselling service to start-up a business
– planning and counselling service for young entrepreneurship
– planning and counselling service for female entrepreneurship
– information and counselling about initiatives promoted by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education
– assistance and counselling for project, content and administrative management
– organisation of conferences and workshops on VET topics and business experiences
– research activity with reference to the craftsmanship and SMEs area
– trainers’ training tailored to the craft and SME system
– planning and implementation of qualifying professional courses in the framework of the Italian rules
– support to individuals and SMEs in order to benefit from the active labour market policies, ESF opportunities, apprenticeship funds, training vouchers, professional funds, EU funds.
Some of the implemented activities impacted significantly at local level and contributed to spread the use of nanotechnology in companies of the mechanical sector,“green the wood industry” through the use of micro-materials and eco-friendly glues (GlueGoesGreen), implement an interactive supply chain in the agriculture and food processing (FAAI), with the set up of a web site for the final product (www.gustaitaliano.it).

At European level ECIPA deals with several projects, whose the following topics deserve to be mentioned:
– international development of SMEs, implicit knowledge and learning due to experience (Leonardo da Vinci),
– training of VET trainers in Veneto and Slovenia (TASBOR).
– development and support of cross-border businesses between Italy and Slovenia to foster SMEs competitiveness through innovation, internationalisation, collaborative entrepreneurship, knowledge and technological transfer (ICON)
– research, data collection and definition of useful information in order to look for harmonization of rules and procedures in the field of health and dietary education, occupational safety, environmental problems, fiscal issues and mobility so as to make easier cross-border businesses for entrepreneurs (TRANSARMON)
– integration of senior Europeans through transfer and exploitation of family traditions (Grundtvig)
– mobility of staff for training (NET – Network of vET expertise) focused mainly on the following topics, in order to enhance SME competitiveness and innovation: entrepreneurship, territorial marketing, energy efficiency, safety at work (Erasmus+ – KA1)
– establishment of strategies and tools useful to remove “bugs”, namely green skills gaps, which cause an incorrect result in the economic development and professional growth in the Construction Sector; definition of training measures to support professional growth (BU.G.S. – BUilding Green Skills), job opportunities and company competitiveness with a double effect: to generate new jobs and change the existing jobs (Pogress – Delivering on skills for growth and jobs)
– setting-up and strengthening of the cooperation between Labs and SMEs in order to enhance an user friendly and smart innovation process, promote competitiveness of small and micro companies through a specific tool (Explore Inno spaces web platform) created to facilitate matching of SMEs demand and Labs supply.

ECIPA, aiming to be one step ahead of the SMEs demands, made a SAAS system to support and facilitate rules management and sharing of works, experiences and information. This service is therefore focused on:
– waste traceability (Ecotraccia)
– health and work safety (Sicurcloud)
– online learning and working platform (partEcipa)

For the definition and implementation of VET courses, ECIPA cooperates with:
– policy and decision makers of national authorities such as the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport
– decision makers of the regional authority, more in details with the VET and Labour department of the Veneto Region
– sectoral international partners such as Entrepreneurial Organisations and Training Centres of EU Member States.