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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs

Last update: 19 March 2024

Access to information

Through Youth Guarantee [cfr. 3.6], the Government encourages forms and services for self-employment. The interventions of the program are based on its main objectives, the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and the start of self-employment or business activities for young people aged 18 to 35.

The main national project currently active is SELFIEmployment: a zero-interest loan for young people aged between 18 and 29, enrolled in Youth Guarantee, who do not study, do not work, or do not attend professional training courses. It finances the creation and launch of entrepreneurial activities, with investment plans between 5,000 and 50,000 euros.

The loans available are:

  • microcredit, from 5,000 to 25,000 euros
  • extended microcredit, from 25,001 to 35,000 euros
  • small loans, from 35,001 to 50,000 euros

On the portal it is also possible to know and apply to regional projects.

The actors directly or indirectly interested in the construction of the business idea and that help young people along the way by offering them services and assistance are:

  • Ministry of Labour and Social Policies
  • ANPAL 
  • Unioncamere
  • Invitalia
  • Services for self-employment (within employment services), Regions and local entities, sportelli unici delle attività produttive (SUAP) of the municipalities
  • Trade associations
  • Universities
  • Non-profit organisations
  • AdEPP
  • National agency for micro-credit

Support for young self-entrepreneurs, from the start-up phase to the realisation of the business idea, is made available at national and/or regional levels also thanks to incentives for business creation.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy (former  MISE)  [see 3.2.] through the already mentioned National Industry Plan 4.0 promotes a series of organic and complementary measures to encourage investments in innovation, competitiveness and the development of the essential skills for the fourth industrial revolution that has then further widened and strengthened through the Transition 4.0 plan of the PNRR.

Access to capital

Young entrepreneurs who wish to start new businesses can apply for public grants. The government, through the portal, has created a vademecum on the incentives made available by the public administration. Those dedicated specifically to supporting young entrepreneurs include:

  • Beyond New Enterprises at Zero Rate, the incentive promoted by the Ministry of Economic Development which supports micro and small enterprises made up mostly or totally of young people between 18 and 35 years old or of women of all ages. It finances companies with investment projects that aim to implement new initiatives or to expand, diversify or transform existing activities in the manufacturing, services, trade and tourism sectors.
  • New SELFIEmployment operational since February 22, 2021 substitute the old measure, SELFIEmployement to finance the start-up of small business initiatives, promoted by NEETs, inactive women and long-term unemployed people, through zero-interest loans of up to 50,000 euros. 
  • Resto al Sud, an economic incentive that supports new entrepreneurial activities developed by individuals under the age of 46 in the southern regions.

There are further measures aimed at supporting start-ups and/or SMEs, and that have no age limits for the beneficiaries. The forms of support that young entrepreneurs can access include:

  • Smart Start Italy is aimed at innovative start-ups that have been established for no more than 60 months or in the launching phase and guarantees beneficiaries a subsidised loan and a tutoring service.
  • National Innovation Fund is a multi-fund that operates through venture capital strategies and makes direct and indirect investments in capital of start-ups, scaleups and SMEs.
  • The "New zero-interest enterprises" measure has the objective of supporting, throughout the national territory, the creation and development of micro and small enterprises with predominantly or total participation by young people or women
  • Sustainable investments 4.0, an intervention aimed at supporting the implementation of investment programs aimed at enabling the technological and digital transformation of the company or at favouring the transition of the manufacturing sector towards the paradigm of the circular economy, in order to overcome the contraction induced by the Covid emergency and to guide the recovery towards strategic areas for competitiveness and sustainable growth of the economic system.
  • Capital goods - Nuova Sabatini, is a financing program aimed at facilitating access to credit for companies and increasing the competitiveness of the country's production system. The measure supports investments to purchase or lease machinery, equipment, plants, capital goods for production use and hardware, as well as software and digital technologies.

It is also possible to refer to the ANPAL guide to look for entrepreneurship incentives. The document provides a periodic summary of the available hiring incentives and supports for new business at national and regional levels.

There are also some programs for the promotion of social entrepreneurship that are aimed at social enterprises, social cooperatives and non-profit cooperatives. These interventions are not specifically aimed at young social entrepreneurs. However, they offer them the opportunity to access forms of financial support and include:

Lastly, Regions and Municipal Administrations, in collaboration with the school and professional system, promote and support the creation of start-ups in their own territory through business incubators or by providing young entrepreneurs with financial support.

Finally the whole PNRR has to be seen as a huge series of investment that through four major reforms - public administration, justice, simplification of legislation and promotion of competition - and its six missions - digitalisation, innovation, competitiveness, culture and tourism; green revolution and ecological transition; infrastructure for sustainable mobility; education and research; inclusion and cohesion; health - The Government estimates that the investments envisaged in the Plan will have a significant impact on the main macroeconomic variables. In 2026, the year of conclusion of the Plan, the gross domestic product will be 3.6 percentage points higher. In the last three years of the plan (2024-2026), employment will be 3,2% higher. The investments envisaged in the Plan will also lead to marked improvements in the indicators that measure regional gaps, like those regarding female employment and youth employment and the whole plan is part of a broader and more ambitious strategy for the modernization of the country.