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Access to finance

08 November 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 22 June 2012

An overview of the sources of finance available to SMEs in Italy.


The Directorate-General for incentivising business activities (DGIAI) of the Ministry of Economic Development coordinates and manages contributions for supporting businesses.

The DGIAI grants and provides financial assistance to businesses, aimed at supporting important objectives of fiscal policy, e.g. technological research, development and innovation activities, contributions in industrial crisis situations, assistance in less developed areas and support for access to credit for SMEs.

Directorate-General for incentivising business activities

Public finance

Actions taken by the Italian government in support of business include a series of legal and implementation instruments:

Programme contracts

Fund for Innovation and Technology

Development contracts

Guarantee Fund for SMEs

Anti-crisis measures (Small Business Act and development law):

A 'Small Business Act' for Europe

Development law

National laws - Ministry of Economic Development

Urgent measures for supporting industrial sectors in crisis

Other actions in support of businesses include:

Aid for innovative production investments

Actions for entrepreneurial development in areas of urban degeneration

Regional actions in the trade and tourism sectors

Actions for reindustrialisation of areas in industrial crisis

Extraordinary actions in the South of Italy

Urgent actions for the economy

Indirect support

The credit guarantee fund for SMEs is aimed at businesses in all sectors for all kinds of financing operation within the scope of their business activities. This state fund guarantees a sum of up to EUR1.5 million, making access to credit easier.

Guarantee Fund

Mezzanine finance is not very common in Italy and is not specifically regulated by Italian law. In fact, there are compatibility problems between this type of financing and the provisions of Italian law in that the applicable interest rates exceed the legal maximum.

Direct support

There are four main financing schemes available for businesses. These are designed for: new businesses, existing businesses, international expansion, and research and innovation.

Tax relief for enterprises - Department of the Treasury 

Incentives for enterprises - Ministry of Economic Development 

To access funds, investors must apply to INVITALIA, the National agency for inward investment promotion and enterprise development. The Agency provides consulting services to businesses.

INVITALIA - National agency for inward investment promotion and enterprise development

Invitalia has six different financing schemes:

  • Tax relief for specific initiatives (Programme Contracts);
  • Investments for industrial revitalisation;
  • Incentives promoting the creation of new production units and the upgrading of existing ones (Self-entrepreneurship);
  • Incentives for the unemployed or those seeking first jobs and wishing to start up a small business (Self-employment);
  • Financial support for those wishing to buy stakes in other companies (Investment Funds).

The funds support entrepreneurial development and are designed for entrepreneurs wishing to start up a business or expand existing companies.

Programme contracts

Industrial revitalisation



Investment funds

The Ministry of Economic Development provides businesses with different types of State financing and incentives. Financing may be in the form of tax credits (financial incentives supporting business development).

State subsidies - Ministry of Economic Development

Paying taxes - Italy

The Globus website of the Chamber of Commerce is an important tool for finding out about the different types of financing and tax relief offered.

Chamber of Commerce

Incentives and tax relief - Globus

The Chambers of Commerce help businesses find out about the different types of incentives and tax relief schemes available. There is a full list of local offices on the Chamber of Commerce website.

Chamber of Commerce

Research and innovation financing are granted via European, national and regional programmes and are supported by Financing Funds.

Sharing new ideas - Italy

Research - Italy

The Agency for the Promotion of European Research (APRE) provides information, support and assistance on EU research and technological development programmes.

Agency for the Promotion of European Research provides structured and organised summaries of useful information on how to obtain easy-term loans, forgivable loans and tax credits. The information covers different types of businesses, industrial sectors and business activities.

Legge488 is the gateway providing information on notifications, grants and easy-term loans.


Access to EU funding

State, regional and Chamber of Commerce subsidies can also be funded by Community funds called Structural Funds. The Structural Funds are allocated according to the 2007-2013 National Strategic Framework Programme for regional development, agreed between Italy and the EU. The aim is to enhance competitiveness and social cohesion.

Structural Funds

Strategic Framework for regional development policy 2007-2013

Map of 2007-2013 convergence and competitiveness objectives

Access to funding - EU

General information on business financing granted by the EU is available on the European portal for SMEs. Various programmes, their objectives and the type of activities they support are shown on the website in addition to detailed information and useful contacts for obtaining additional information and assistance in different EU countries.

EU funding for SMEs

An up-to-date list of all grants available on an EU level is available on the Commission's Europa website.

Contracts and grants - European Union

Beginner's guide to grants and financing from the EU

Private finance

Companies may use banks to apply for loans to finance their activities.

Banks in Italy

List of Italian banks in your region

Legal interest rates

Bonds are negotiable instruments, i.e., loans provided by investors for companies (or for a state, government or international organization). When issuing a bond, the issuer commits to:

Repayment of the capital at on expiry of the loan;

periodic interest payment at a predetermined rate.

Guide to bonds

A mortgage for SMEs is a form of financing for fixed assets and covers expenses such as construction or renovation of real estate and purchasing plants and machinery. It is normally accompanied by a class 1 mortgage indemnity guarantee (the asset does not have to have been mortgaged already) and stipulates a constant fixed rate of repayment for the whole period. Repayments can be monthly, quarterly or half-yearly.

Loans for companies

The Italian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (AIFI), promotes, develops and represents venture capital and private equity activities in Italy. There is a list of organisations active in the Italian venture capital investment market published on the association's website.

Italian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association

Business support organisations can advise businesses on how to find financing.

Business support — Italy


Website for INVITALIA, the national agency for inward investment promotion and enterprise development:

Investment and enterprise development

Source: Your Europe

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