National incentives for start-ups: what are the opportunities?

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National incentives for start-ups: what are the opportunities?

National incentives for start-ups: what are the opportunities?

[Guide updated to June 2021]

In the previous articles we talked about how to create a start-up company in Italy and the main ways to finance it, focusing above all on the most relevant incentives that the European Union and the Italian State reserve for innovative start-ups, to support them in the start-up phase and in the sustainable development of the business project.

In this article you will find all the calls or measures currently in force, or which will be available in the coming months.

National Incentives currently in force

Among the most relevant incentives at national level, there are certainly:

1) Smart & Start Italy

Probably the most important measure, because it allows innovative start-ups to obtain a zero-interest loan, without any guarantee, to cover 80% of eligible expenses between € 100,000 and € 1.5 million, for the purchase of capital goods, services, personnel expenses and business operating costs.

This percentage can rise to 90% if the start-up:

  • is made up entirely of women and/or young people under 36;
  • or if among the members there is an expert with the title of Italian PhD (or equivalent), who works abroad and wants to return to Italy.

Furthermore, start-ups based in the Regions Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily and in the seismic crater of Central Italy, can enjoy a non-repayable grant equal to 30% of the loan and thus return only 70% of the funding received.

  • To find out more, read the full article on our website.
  • To submit your application for admission to the call immediately, click here.
  • Call deadline: until resources are exhausted.

2) Funds for investment in innovative start-ups

a) National Innovation Fund

The italian Ministry of Economic Development has allocated 200 million euros in favor of the National Innovation Fund (FNI) – the public fund to support Venture Capital – to encourage investments in the capital of start-ups and innovative SMEs by of qualified individuals.

What are the entry requirements?

Investments must be aimed at those start-ups and innovative SMEs that are carrying out investment rounds or that have already carried out one, at the latest in the six months prior to the entry into force of the Relaunch Decree.

Through the FNI, resources can be disbursed up to a maximum of 4 times the value of the investment by private investors, up to an overall limit of 1 million for each individual start-up or innovative SME.

  • To find out more, read the full article on our website.
  • To send their application to the FNI, interested innovative start-ups/SMEs cannot do it directly, but only through their investors, by clicking here.
  • Deadline of the call: until resources are exhausted.

b) Enea Tech

ENEA Tech is a Foundation supervised by the MISE, which has the mission of investing in innovative and emerging technologies of national strategic interest and on a global scale, through the Technology Transfer Fund.

Through the tender of the same name, Enea Tech invites research institutions, universities, entrepreneurs, startups and innovative SMEs, operating in the Deep Tech, Healthcare, Green, Energy & Circular Economy, Information Technology sectors to present their ideas and technologies.

The best projects are financed through intervention instruments such as equity, quasi-equity, convertibles, grants and purchase contracts, with convertible options.

  • To find out more, read the complete sheet on the Enea Tech website.
  • To submit your application, click here.
  • Deadline of the call: until resources are exhausted.

c) National Fund for Energy Efficiency (FNEE)

The FNEE is an incentive provided by the MISE and the Ministry of the Environment, which aims to support the implementation of interventions aimed at ensuring the achievement of the energy efficiency objectives set by the Kyoto Protocol, by companies, Energy service companies – ESCo (consisting of at least 2 years; in single or associated/aggregate form as Consortia, Network Contracts and ATI) and Public Administration.

For companies and ESCOs, the concessions are granted, upon presentation of the request through banks or financial intermediaries, in the form:

  • financing, to cover a maximum of 70% of the subsidized costs, for amounts between 250,000 and 4,000,000 euros;
  • guarantee, on individual financing transactions (including capital and interest) to cover up to 80% of eligible costs for amounts from 150,000 to 2,500,000 euros.

The funded interventions are:

  • the reduction of energy consumption in industrial processes;
  • the construction and / or implementation of district heating and cooling networks and systems;
  • the efficiency of public services and infrastructures, including public lighting;
  • the energy requalification of buildings.

Eligible expenses are those for:

  • consulting services;
  • plant, machinery and equipment;
  • interventions on the building envelope;
  • specific infrastructures
  • To submit your application immediately, click here.
  • Deadline of the call: the incentive is at the counter; applications are examined on the basis of the order of arrival; there are no rankings or deadlines.

3) ON – Beyond New interest-free companies

This incentive is promoted by the MISE to support micro and small enterprises (therefore also start-ups) made up mostly or entirely of young people between 18 and 35 years old, or of women of all ages.

ON funds projects that aim to start new businesses or expand, diversify or transform existing businesses in the manufacturing, services, trade and tourism sectors.

The concessions provide for both a zero-interest loan and non-repayable grants, which cover up to 90% of the total eligible expenses, for projects with costs up to 3 million euros.

  • To submit your application, click here.
  • Deadline of the call: the incentive is at the counter; applications are examined on the basis of the order of arrival; there are no rankings or deadlines.

4) Digital Transformation

The Digital trasformation call was provided for by the Growth Decree to support the technological and digital transformation of the production processes of micro and SMEs in possession of certain requirements and operating mainly or primarily in the sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • direct services to manufacturing companies;
  • tourism and / or commerce;

through the implementation of projects that implement the enabling technologies identified in the National Business Plan 4.0 (eg: (advanced manufacturing solutions, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, big data and analytics, etc.), as well as other technologies relating to digital supply chain solutions.

This call finances projects for amounts up to € 100 million, on the basis of a nominal percentage of eligible costs and expenses equal to 50%, of which 10% in the form of a grant and 40% as a subsidized loan.

  • To find out more, read the full article on our website.
  • To submit your application for admission to the call immediately, click here.
  • Deadline of the call: until resources are exhausted.

5) Calls for the development of industrial property (trademarks, patents, designs, etc.)

a) 3I voucher

The innovative start-ups registered in the special register can enhance and protect their patents for industrial invention in Italy and abroad, obtaining up to 9 vouchers per year (3 for each service, for 3 different patents) to finance following consulting services:

  1. verification of the patentability of the invention and carrying out prior art searches prior to filing the patent application (voucher: € 2,000 + VAT);
  2. the drafting of the patent application and its filing with the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (voucher: € 4,000 + VAT);
  3. filing abroad of an application that claims the priority of a previous national patent application (voucher: € 6,000 + VAT).

To be entitled to the voucher, the consultancy services must necessarily be provided by lawyers registered in a special register held by the National Bar Council (Lawyer Marco Coscia is in this register) or by industrial property consultants registered in the respective Order.

  • To find out more, read the full article on our website.
  • To apply now and get vouchers, click here.
  • Deadline of the call: until resources are exhausted.

b) Patent box

It is a facilitated taxation regime that can be chosen by all the holders of business income deriving from the use of copyrighted software, industrial patents and designs/models.

Furthermore, companies that carry out research and development activities (therefore also many innovative start-ups) can exclude from the tax base 50% of the income deriving from:

  • the use, even jointly, of the aforementioned intangible assets (software protected by copyright, industrial patents, etc.);
  • the sale of the same, if 90% of the “proceeds” are reinvested in the maintenance or development of other intangible assets before the end of the second tax period following the one in which the sale took place.
  • To find out more, read the full article on our website.
  • Deadline of the measure: no deadline.

6) Internationalization voucher

It is a measure envisaged by the MISE in favor of manufacturing micro and small enterprises (MPI) (Ateco code C) based in Italy, to support them in expanding into foreign markets.

The voucher finances the fees paid for the consultancy activity of a Temporary Export Manager (TEM) with digital skills, registered in the appropriate list that will be prepared in the coming days by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

TEM must be temporarily included in the workforce through a management consulting contract lasting 12 months for micro and small businesses and 24 months for business networks.

  • To find out more, read the full article on our website.
  • To apply now and get vouchers, click here.
  • Deadline of the call: until resources are exhausted.

7) Rest in the South (Italy)

Rest in the South (Italy) is the incentive that supports the birth and development of new businesses and freelancers in Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily and in the 116 municipalities located in the areas of the seismic crater of Central Italy.

The measure:

  • is aimed at those aged between 18 and 55 and companies operating in the sectors of industry, crafts, processing of agricultural products, fishing and aquaculture; provision of services to businesses and individuals; tourism.
  • covers up to 100% of expenses, with:
    1. a maximum loan of 50,000 euros for each applicant, which can reach up to 200,000 euros in the case of companies consisting of four shareholders;
    2. a maximum loan of 60,000 euros, only for companies exercised individually with a single proponent;
    3. an additional non-repayable grant:
      • 15,000 euros for sole proprietorships and professional activities carried out individually
      • up to a maximum of 40,000 euros for companies.
  • To submit your application immediately, click here.
  • Deadline of the call: until resources are exhausted.

8) Smart Money

With this measure, the MISE provides two types of facilitation:

  1. the first allocates non-repayable grants of up to 10,000 euros to start-ups – which covers up to 80% of eligible expenses – to purchase the services provided by the network of incubators, accelerators and other authorized entities.
    To obtain it, start-ups must submit a development project that includes an activity plan to be implemented in at least 12 months.
  2. The second – intended for innovative start-ups that will complete the aforementioned business plan – provides for a non-repayable grant equal to 100% of the investment in risk capital (within the overall limit of 30,000 euros) by authorized entities, qualified investors or business angels, to finance their development plans.
  • Deadline of the call: until resources are exhausted.
  • To find out more, read the full article on our website.
  • To submit your application, click here.

The next updates

Our “incentives for companies” page periodically updates you with all the most relevant measures for innovative start-ups (click here to open it).

The importance of legal and tax support

How to choose between all these incentives?

Our advice, especially in the early stages, is to rely on serious, qualified professionals with proven experience in business consultancy, who will guide you with confidence in choosing the safest financing methods and in line with your commercial strategy.

Our Firm, thanks to the expertise and experience in consulting and assistance to start-ups, both in the legal and commercial and corporate fields:

  • provides all entrepreneurs interested in creating their own start-up or defining an optimal business strategy, advice and specific assistance in bureaucratic and commercial practices;
  • assists its customers in the market analysis phase, in the preparation of the business plan and in the search for the economic resources necessary to finance the start-up;
  • supports the company at every stage of development, recommending the best commercial and legal strategies to be implemented.

Contact us immediately at the numbers +39 0683521985 or +39 3711453121, or write to us at info@studiolegalecoscia.it for specific advice.

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