Doing Business in Italy

Financing for Start-ups

Many grants and incentives are available for new businesses in Italy, particularly in rural areas and the south of the country (the Mezzogiorno). Grants include EU subsidies, central government grants, regional development grants, redeployment grants, and grants from provincial authorities and local communities. Grants may include assistance to buy buildings and equipment (or the provision of low-cost business premises), research and technological assistance, subsidies for job creation, low-interest loans and tax incentives (lasting ten years for new companies established in the Mezzogiorno). These Grants are besides the classical loans from a bank, from families/friends or from their own savings.

For specific investments in Italy there are various types of subsidies and tax relief aimed at supporting companies in need of financial support. These can be granted by:

  • the state
  • the regions
  • the provinces

Do you want to start a business and do you need financial resources? Start from the idea. Make a presentation on paper and in power point. Short texts, photos, your profile, team. Prepare an income statement. Investments. Costs, revenues, profitability. And then ask for help.

1. Contact friends and family

It works for all businesses.

It takes a serious and clear approach. Make a written commitment. They can lend you money, even without interest, or give it to you. Or become a shareholder.

Pros: elastic return times, even long ones. You can also find volunteer or low-cost collaborators.

Cons: if things go wrong, the emotional damage is greater, the involvement is personal.

2. Word-of-Mouth

It works for all businesses. They are supporters and sympathizers. Conquered by you as a person or by the idea or by earning prospects. They come through word of mouth and knowledge. Or from the dissemination of part of the idea on the web and on social networks.

Pros: Agreements on return times and interest to be agreed.

Cons: In case of failure, emotional involvement.

3. Banks

It works for family businesses, destined to last, that invest in headquarters, plants and equipment. Get a credit to start the business, upon presentation of a solid project and adequate guarantees (assets, real estate, savings).

Pros: You can have lower interest rates and a reduction in the risk of insolvency, in the event of bankruptcy, if you access bank loans through guarantee funds created by the Ministry for Economic Development ( You remain obliged to return a small portion of the overdraft (about 20%), the rest is covered by the fund.

Cons: You have to repay the loan on time and at a set pace, with heavy interest. If you fail, it's your problem, the bank is competing on the assets pledged. Applying for guarantees to the various Confidi, which operate in Italy and consortium companies, or to category funds has costs and requires a certain bureaucratic process.

4. Non-repayable contributions

It works for all businesses.

You can find the calls on the websites of the Government (e.g. Prime Minister's Office, Department for Equal Opportunities), Ministries (For economic development, Universities, Transport, Cultural Heritage, Tourism), Regions, Chambers of Commerce and trade associations, European Commission. Search in the dedicated sections: news, company branches, calls.

To know more check here.

Bandi Nazionali

Finanziamenti a Fondo Perduto

Some further regional possibilities:

Imprenditoria Femminile

Finanziamenti Cultura Turismo

Pro: You don't have to return them. You can do it yourself for a first information.

Cons: a project and specific documents to prepare and send to follow the call requirements

5. Facilitated finance

It works for all businesses.

They are direct loans, with the disbursement of money, or indirect, through tax breaks or guarantees on the loan obtained from banks and financial companies. Non-repayable contributions are included.

They are direct loans, with the disbursement of money, or indirect, through tax breaks or guarantees on the loan obtained from banks and financial companies. Non-repayable contributions are included.

Example of national/regional grants:

Pros: You can do it yourself for a first information, but a consultant or accountant helps. You have tax breaks, interest reductions.

Cons: You have to return them. For operating grants (management) and interest / rent accounts, soft loans, granting of guarantees, tax bonuses, tax credit, taxes and interest are planned. Technicalities, bureaucracy, complicated sites.

6. Microcredit

It Works for all businesses.

You must have technical and entrepreneurial skills. They give you bank loans from 3.000 to 25.000 euros, even if you are not "bankable", that is, you have no guarantees. Get information from institutions (microcrditoitali , microfinanzia-italia), non-profit organizations (, Mag (Sportello-di-microcredito ).

Pro: You may have no collateral and/or credit history. A credible project and a business plan are enough to create employment, structure a company or develop an existing one. Possible help in the business plan and mentoring.

Cons: The company must have been established for less than 24 months. You must not have any outstanding payments behind you. You need a co-obligator (amount to be guaranteed with other people) of 7 thousand euros.

7. Business Angel

It works for startups just starting out.

Welcome a shareholder of capital (up to 200 thousand euros) in a company that should have very rapid growth times. Common objective: to sell the shares at a profit, once the company has started up. The business angel bets on the idea and benefits from it. Investors can also be a group.

Pro: The investor is a person, you can talk to him. Close, territorially. She/He does not expect a return

Cons: Loan under one million euros, accompaniment only in the first phase of development.

8. Crowdfunding

It works for all businesses.

Great for creative and art business. Make an attractive idea and launch it on special portals, such as Kickstarter, Bancomail, Produzzioni dal Basso, and invite people to finance you with small amounts, recognizing participation with materials and gadgets. Each portal has its own rules and conditions.

Pros: You can break down the project into micro-projects and have it funded gradually. The participation of a few interested investors who can also give you support is ideal.

Cons: Not immediate return, small amounts. To be returned, however, in set times. Or to be recognized as company shares or profits.

9. Competitions

It works for all businesses.

Awards and tenders held by companies, mixed public and private groups (institutions, universities, research centers, companies), business incubators, hubs. Read carefully the calls to understand if you have the requirements, on the sites created specifically and launched on social networks, perhaps in specific profiles.

Pros: High contributions (even 80 thousand euros), non-repayable, with high-value incubation and tutoring initiatives. Behind there are often multinationals interested in developing the project.

Cons: Very few projects admitted, selective requirements, essential dynamism and young age.

For more information you can contact your closest chambers of commerce: Click here