Startups in Italy: two major reports now available in English

Friday, 08 June 2018

Minister’s Annual Report to Parliament for 2017: a window on the Italian startup ecosystem

Now in its fourth edition, the Annual Report to Parliament is the centrepiece of the monitoring and evaluation system administered by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development for the national strategy in support of young innovative companies based in Italy, the Italian Startup Act (ISA).

 For more information on the ISA and its monitoring system, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

The Report offers an extensive picture of the status of Italian innovative startups: demographics, regional and sectorial distribution, workforce involved, and performance indicators. It also outlines the main changes incurred in the legislative framework during the reference period (July 2016 – June 2017) and looks into detail on the impact of all the measures whose usage can be reliably tracked.

For the first time, the 2017 edition of the Report features a detailed analysis of the growth trends – in terms of annual turnover – registered by startups while benefiting from the ISA. Data shows that, on average, firms grow significantly during their participation in the policy: firms that qualified as innovative startups in 2014 had more than tripled their previous sales volume by the end of 2016, and those registered in 2015 doubled their turnover in just one year.

Like for the previous issues, the full text of the Report is now available in an English version, together with supporting material facilitating its consultation.


Startup Survey 2016: a glance at the human side of the startup phenomenon

The result of a cooperation between the Ministry of Economic Development and Istat, the National Institute for Statistics, “Startup Survey” is the first census survey on innovative startups based in Italy.

Sent to all innovative startup founders between March and May 2016, the primary aim of this study is to expand the evidence base on these companies with elements that are not easily grasped through Business Register data. This includes, for instance, the personal background of startup founders (family, studies, experience, skills), their attitude towards fundraising and innovation strategies, and their opinion on the benefits offered by the Italian Startup Act.

2,250 firms – 44% of startups on the records at the reference date, a remarkable result as participation was entirely voluntary – filled in a full questionnaire. The sheer number of respondents, and especially the breadth of the survey itself (42 questions in all), give policymakers and scholars a multifaceted picture of a statistically significant population of innovative firms and entrepreneurs.

A comment report on the main results of the survey was jointly published by Istat and by the Ministry on 28 February 2018.

The full text of the report is now available in an English version. The dataset produced by the survey can be accessed by researchers through Istat’s ADELE Laboratory (more info, in Italian).


What is the “Italian Startup Act”?

Since late 2012, Italy has had in place a comprehensive policy strategy to promote the creation and the development of hi-tech companies.

Decree-law 179/2012, the “Italian Startup Act”, enshrines into legislation the concept of “innovative startup”, defined as a newly-founded limited company, unlisted, with a yearly sales volume below €5m, which meets specific conditions in terms of technological intensity of its business model. The ISA and other related dispositions confer firms holding innovative startup status a wide set of legal benefits, including a special, online-based procedure for incorporation, deep cuts through red tape, robust tax relief for equity investors, and facilitated access to bank credit.

For more info on the ISA, please refer to this policy summary (27 pp.)

The ISA requires the Government to set up a formal monitoring and evaluation system on the measures introduced, and on the economic performance of the firms that benefit from them.

This system, overseen by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and drawing from data provided by several institutions, with a prominent role for the Italian Chambers of Commerce, is articulated in four main outputs:

  • Open data: the list of all innovative startups, updated weekly and including key performance indicators, can be downloaded for free in spreadsheet format from the portal
  • Quarterly reports on specific measures (new procedure for incorporation, access to the SME Guarantee Fund for bank credit, and the Italia Startup Visa programme – the latter also available in English), and on company demographics and financials;
  • An all-encompassing Annual Report to Parliament, signed by the Minister in charge;
  • Ad hoc thematic reports and evaluation exercises.

The archive for all reports is freely accessible from the website of the Ministry, section “Relazione Annuale e rapporti periodici”.

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