Nuovi aiuti alle imprese: ecco chi può averli, tutti i requisiti

New aid to businesses: here is who can have it, all the requirements

Green light to decree signed by the Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti for new aid to startups and innovative SMEs. This new provision was launched on July 26, and published in the Official Gazette on September 7 assigns 2 billion euros to CDP Venture Capital Sgr to support and strengthen investments in startups and innovative SMEswith the aim of favoring, in an extremely delicate phase for our economy, the overall growth of the innovation ecosystem in Italy.

An operation to relaunch public intervention in support of the Italian venture capital market was already envisaged in December 2018, through the rationalization of the various existing national interventions on the subject, which have been merged into a single large instrument, and the institution , in the forecast of the Ministry of Economic Development, of the so-called Venture Capital Support Fund.

How much is it up to

The assignment takes place in implementation of the Infrastructure decree and is accompanied by thea further allocation of 550 million of resources, foreseen by the PNRR, to support the ecological and digital transition processes through dedicated denominated investment funds Green transition fund And Digital transition fund.

It comes then overall of over 2.5 billionto which others will be added 600 million allocated by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and third party investors, as required by the Infrastructure decree. Resources that will increase the current endowment of CDP Venture Capital, which is equal to 1.8 billion, explains Giorgetti.

A significant contribution of resources that will act as a driving force for the growth of the Italian venture capital market, which in the last year exceeded 1.9 billion euros, registering a + 221% compared to 2020.

But let’s see who is entitled to the new aid (here you will find the new aid to SMEs for the so-called Green New Deal).

Which companies can define themselves as startups and access new aid

The 2.5 billion allocated by the MISE is due, as we said, to innovative startups and SMEs. Innovative startups enjoy a dedicated framework of reference, for example on administrative simplification, the labor market, tax breaks and bankruptcy law. Many of these measures are also extended to innovative SMEs, that is, to all small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the field of technological innovation, regardless of the date of incorporation or the corporate purpose.

What characteristics must companies have to define themselves as startups or innovative SMEs and access aid, and what differences exist between them?

A startup is a young company, with a high technological content, with strong growth potential and therefore represents one of the key points of Italian industrial policy. It is a capital company, also established in a cooperative form, which respects some specifics requirements. Here they are:

  • is a new or established business for no more than 5 years
  • has a residence in Italy, or in another country of the European Economic Area but with a production site or branch in Italy
  • has an annual turnover of less than 5 million euros
  • it is not listed on a regulated market or on a multilateral trading platform
  • does not distribute and has not distributed profits
  • has as its exclusive or prevailing corporate purpose the development, production and marketing of a product or service with a high technological value
  • it is not the result of a merger, spin-off or sale of a business unit

Furthermore, a startup is innovative if it meets at least 1 of these 3 subjective requirements:

  • it sustains expenses in Research and Development and innovation equal to at least 15% of the higher value between cost and total value of production
  • 2 employs highly qualified personnel, with at least 1/3 of PhDs, PhD students or researchers, or at least 2/3 with master’s degrees
  • is the owner, custodian or licensee of at least one patent or owner of a registered software.

Here all the new aid to businesses approved in the Aid bis decree.

What concessions are always entitled to startups

Startups are always entitled to a number of concessions from the date of registration and for a maximum of 5 years starting from their date of incorporation. With the Relaunch decree and during the pandemic, other measures were introduced to strengthen and support the ecosystem of innovative startups.

Here are the main ones:

  • tax incentives for investment in the capital of innovative startups
  • free and simplified access to the Guarantee Fund for SMEs
  • subsidized loans for innovative startups located throughout the country (Smart & start Italy)
  • seamless transformation into innovative SMEs
  • exemption from chamber rights and stamp duties
  • raising capital through equity crowdfunding campaigns
  • internationalization services to businesses through the ICE
  • exceptions to ordinary corporate regulations
  • flexible work discipline
  • extension of the deadline for covering losses
  • derogation from the regulation on shell companies and systematic loss companies
  • remuneration through equity participation instruments
  • exemption from the obligation to affix the compliance visa for offsetting VAT credits
  • simplified procedures in case of failure of your business (so-called Fail Fast).

Which SMEs can be defined as innovative

Startups can enjoy the expected benefits within 5 years of their establishment: after this period, they have the opportunity to transform themselves into Innovative SMEswithout losing the available benefits.

There is no age limit for companies wishing to access the special section of innovative SMEs. Furthermore, the status of innovative SME can be accessed directly from the status of innovative startup without solution of continuity, by doing so it is possible to continue enjoying the benefits foreseen for both companies.

An innovative SME is a joint stock company, also established in a cooperative form, which respects these objective requirements:

  • residence in Italy, or in another country of the European Economic Area but with production site or branch in Italy
  • has carried out the certification of the last financial statements and any consolidated financial statements
  • it is not listed on a regulated market
  • it is not simultaneously registered in the special section of innovative startups.

Finally, an SME is innovative if it meets at least 2 of these 3 subjective requirements:

  • has incurred expenses in research and development and innovation equal to at least 3% of the higher value between turnover and cost of production
  • employs highly qualified personnel, i.e. at least 1/5 PhDs, PhD students or researchers, or at least 1/3 with master’s degrees
  • is the owner, custodian or licensee of at least one patent or owner of a registered software.

Companies in possession of certain requirements can access the special status through self-certification of the legal representative and enjoy the dedicated facilities by registering in the special section of the Register of Companies at the Chambers of Commerce throughout the country.

To find out about all the innovative SMEs currently registered in the special section of the Business Register, you can consult the #ItalyFrontiers showcase.

What concessions are always entitled to innovative SMEs

The main ones concessionsin addition to the Covid measures, recognized to innovative SMEs are:

  • tax incentives to invest in the capital of innovative SMEs
  • free and simplified access to the Guarantee Fund for SMEs
  • exemption from stamp duties for documents filed with the Chamber of Commerce
  • raising capital through equity crowdfunding campaigns
  • internationalization services to businesses through the ICE
  • exceptions to ordinary corporate regulations
  • extension of the deadline for covering losses
  • derogation from the regulation on shell companies and systematic loss companies
  • remuneration through equity participation instruments.

How does the Venture Capital Support Fund

CDP Venture Capital, 70% owned by CDP Equity, the investment holding controlled by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, and 30% by Invitalia, will operate by consolidating current investment strategies by strengthening the activity of operating funds and, at the same time, will expand its range of action with the launch of new tools dedicated to accelerating the growth of all players in the innovation market.

How does the Venture Capital Support Fund? The Fund operates, according to the decisions adopted from time to time by the SGR:

  • by making investments in direct target funds or indirect target funds
  • making co-investments with one or more Target Funds in Third Party Funds, and / or in the venture capital or debt of SMEs
  • subscribing to shares in other investment funds promoted and managed by European Union development financial institutions that have an investment policy consistent with the purposes and areas specified in the decree.

The subscription of the Fund’s units by the MISE is conditional on the subscription by other professional investors, including Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and its directly or indirectly investee companies, of additional resources for at least 30% of the Ministry’s subscription to the Fund.


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