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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs

Last update: 22 March 2022
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  1. Access to information
  2. Access to capital

Access to information

Through Youth Guarantee [cfr. § 3.6], the Government encourages forms and services for self-employment. The interventions of the program, whose objective is the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and the start of self-employment or business activities for young people aged 18 to 35, are:

    • YES I Start Up is aimed at NEETs aged between 18 and 29 and offers them a training programme in entrepreneurship with courses focused on the competences necessary for the development of their own start-up.
    • ICT skills for the young people of Southern Italy is a measure that promotes the professional growth and of young NEETs resident in the southern regions (Abruzzo, Molise, Sardinia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily) and enhances their employment opportunities.
    • Crescere in Digitale 2.0 aims to promote the acquisition of digital skills and stimulate youth self-employment through a training course focused on the opportunities offered by the Internet.
    • Young programmers and developers in the ICT sector consists of specialised training courses, guidance and accompaniment to the job placement of specific professional figures in the ICT world, such as: Java programmers, junior web developer, junior mobile developer, junior data scientists.

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 [cfr. § 3.2]
  • ANPAL [cf. § 3.2]
  • 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 Economic Development (MiSE) [cf. § 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, has created avademecum 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.
  • Spin - Scaleup program Invitalia network is dedicated to the entrepreneurial development of innovative start-ups, SMEs and university based spin-offs operating in Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily.

It is also possible to refer tothe 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.