SINCE 1980



When the founding members established CSIL in 1980, in Milan, they were inspired by the vision of the distinguished economists and entrepreneurs with whom they had been working.

Several of CSIL’s founding members and collaborators were students at ISTAO, the Adriano Olivetti Institute based in Ancona. Founded by Giorgio Fuà (1919-2000), ISTAO is one of the most prestigious schools of applied economics and business management operating in Italy. CSIL intellectual roots rely on Fuà’s ideas of economic development. They combine a Schumpeterian vision of development with the intuition that entrepreneurship results from a complex interaction between social, cultural, and political factors. This informs CSIL’s interest in industrial clusters, entrepreneurship dynamics, and economic development.

CSIL was also inspired by the entrepreneurial mindset of Alberto Zevi (1920-1993), one of its founding members. From him, CSIL inherited the vision that innovation is a never-ending process made of observation, imitation, and creative adaptation. In the delivery of its services, CSIL always strives for the valued ingredient of first-hand experience. 

From both Fuà and Zevi, CSIL derived its cosmopolitan vocation. From a starting point in the thriving SMEs industrial context of Brianza (north of Milan), CSIL’s activities now extend worldwide, and in a wide range of sectors. CSIL works with a global outlook, seeking differences and similarities, best practices, and world-class knowledge, to be transferred where it is most needed.

Today, CSIL is a centre of excellence with a strong reputation for reliability and intellectual integrity.


CSIL specialises in applied economic research with specific expertise in SME competitiveness and market analysis, industrial and innovation policies, and regional development.

CSIL’s mission is to provide tailor-made solutions to private and public clients, relying on sound analytical capacity and ensuring a global and independent perspective. CSIL’s ultimate goal is to provide the most up to date, valuable, and practical knowledge base for effective strategic decision-making. More specifically:

  • CSIL helps public and private actors worldwide take evidence-based decisions, optimise their investment plans, increase accountability and transparency, improve performance, and provide the best value to society.
  • CSIL supports new investment, export and trade opportunities by providing companies and business associations with analysis of markets, consumer behaviour, supply and demand structures, import-export flows, competitive scenarios and market shares of leading companies, distribution channels, retail concepts, and strategies.
  • CSIL fosters growth processes, providing strategic knowledge and analytical capacity, as well as investigating competitiveness drivers and comparative advantages in different territories, sectors, and markets.


We are problem solvers. We are dedicated to providing useful answers. Our conclusions are evidence-based. We endorse an empirical and experimental perspective with a concrete approach. Our activities are driven by the search for hard facts and a genuine passion for understanding growth and innovation processes.

We are a trustworthy partner. We are committed and always deliver our promise. We co-create with our partners. We share knowledge with them and engage in close and open dialogue to offer a tailored solution. We are ambitious in our suggestions but never forget feasibility. We learn from all our clients.

We are risk-taking and versatile. We love exploring new frontiers, implementing innovative approaches, and undertaking challenging tasks that stretch our abilities. Our team encompasses a wide range of academic backgrounds, expertise, skills, and professional experience. We approach new challenges with curiosity and courage.

We are knowledge-based. We base our work on solid analytical capacities. We continuously invest in learning and capacity building. We have strong connections with universities and research institutions. We are affiliated with various scientific and professional associations and networks, which allows us to employ state-of-the-art knowledge and expertise.

Funded in Milan in 1980

39 partners

Over 100 collaborators and correspondents in 20 countries

100+ countries covered by our research activity

2000+ clients, 
public and private

3000+ studies 

delivered so far

150+ international seminars organised

200+ partnerships with public and private organisations

100 conferences, events and fairs attended 
each year