With its 43,000 inhabitants, Biella is an important economic center in the northern Italian region of Piedmont.
Biella first flourished during the Middle Ages with the advent of the wool industry, which became a full-scale industrial activity in the 19th century, turning the town into a leading textile center. Even today the label “made in Biella” is a guarantee of quality recognized all over the world. The Biellese textile and clothing sector has come to distinguish itself for its traditional manufacture perfectly mixed with cutting-edge technology. The excellence of the Biellese products is due to factors such as the purity of the rivers – Cervo, Sessera, and their tributaries – and the high quality of the wool. Fine cashmere, linen, and Merino or Alpaca wool products are exported and commercialized on a global scale thanks to companies such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Cerruti, Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Piacenza Cashmere, Angelico, and Reda. And all you have to do is to take a look at all the sponsored outlets in the area around Biella to realize how close the ties between the Biellese textile industry and the most important Italian fashion trademarks really are. Despite the European financial and economic crisis which began in 2007, the textile industry has always had a quite stable performance and has maintained its supremacy. In fact, although the number of companies decreased in the last few years, the textile district – and most of all the companies dealing in luxury goods – have held out against the crisis.
Biella is not only famous for textiles but also for the presence of such historic companies as Banca Sella, a private bank, and Menabrea, one of the oldest Italian breweries.
Here is a chart which shows the classification of companies in the Biellese area:
- Business 23%
- Construction 17%
- Industry 13%
- Agriculture 8%
- Tourism 6%
- Unclassified 5%
- Other services 28%
The textile machinery industry is highly developed in the Biellese area, and its state-of-the-art machineries are exported all over the world.
Furthermore, the agri-food sector includes many companies and has achieved high quality product standards also thanks to the quality of the water.
The Province of Biella has a resident population of more than 180,000 inhabitants distributed throughout 82 municipalities and almost 19,000 active companies, which constitute 42.3% of the manufacturing activities. The Biellese manufacturing output is aimed at both the Italian and the international markets, with exports bringing in almost 1.5 billion euros. The most important EU countries are Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Austria, Spain, the Netherlands, Rumania, and Portugal; other countries include Switzerland, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Turkey, and the US.
The Biella Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1992, supports the growth of local businesses and the entrepreneurial system by organizing various economic events as well as its yearly promotional project «Biella Produces», a trade-fair-style initiative to attract foreign investors and buyers to the city. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce supports training programs and promotes technological innovation thanks to its contact network of leading domestic and international businesses and associations.