The production of Sicilian goods and services within the ICT sector consists
predominately of wireless communications, satellites, WiMax experiments and
telecommunications. More specifically, the Etna Valley high-tech district produces
goods and services for the following markets: semiconductors, satellite systems,
telecommunications, internet, semiconductor support systems, nanotechnology,
special cabling for telecommunications, piping, electronic valves and software.
Within the biotechnologies sector, Sicilian goods and services include precision instruments, molecular technologies, liquid oxygen, telemedicine and software. Production areas for the biotechnologies sector also include Palermo and Trapani.
Today, the Etna Valley area is home to an estimated 200 businesses and provides employment for the equivalent of 7,000 full time employees. Most of the Catania businesses are SMEs (not including the multinationals), employing on average 10-15 mostly young people. They have skilled human resources and close links with Universities. The advantage of being located closely together and competitive - which the Etna Valley offers - has created a kind of production line amongst the many businesses in the sector.
The Sicilian high-tech sector offers the following:
- good availability of highly skilled and professional human resources and innovative technicalscientific knowledge, guaranteed by the high-level training centres and the production of knowledge in the field of science and technology;
- a collaborative network of organizations and institutions working towards the production of knowledge in the field of science and technology, and industry and businesses working towards innovation and research;
- easy access to public funding and programmes aimed at encouraging research and innovation;
- large businesses - leaders in the sector and well-established in the area;
The Etna Valley production district can be defined in the following ways:
- widely known for its vertical and horizontal production chain;
- the district includes 159 businesses, some of which belong to integrated specialization systems, such as the following consortiums: Consorzio Etna Hitech, Consorzio Cometa and Consorzio Sirio;
- overall turnover of 310 million euros (excluding ST Microelettronics);
- 30% of businesses carry out a significant amount of internationalization activities;
- high level of product integration and services in 42% of businesses;
- approx. 60% of businesses carry out research and/or technological development, either alone or in partnership.
In addition, the Etna Valley district boasts a high number of businesses with quality assurance certification (37% of total) and a high number of patents either registered or in the course of being registered. Furthermore, the degree of product innovation within businesses belonging to the district lies at 52%, and 35% for process innovation.