Dal Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico (MISE) arriva il bilancio sulla situazione delle StartUp in Italia.

1) Annual Report to Parliament for 2017: a window on the Italian startup ecosystem

First of all, I’m pleased to announce that the English version of the 2017 Annual Report to the Parliament on the Italian Startup Act is now online (link).

It offers a comprehensive analysis of the startup phenomenon in Italy in terms of regulatory developments (here’s a policy summary), demographics, and performance of firms targeted by our national policy, and an assessment of the latter’s results.

Among the most remarkable findings (here’s a “top-20”), there’s one I’d like to stress: a detailed analysis of the statements of account filed by startups in the last five years (pp. 67-79) shows that firms significantly and rapidly increased their annual sales volume. In fact, those that entered the policy in 2015 had on average doubled their annual turnover by the end of 2016; those that registered in 2013 and 2014 had tripled it by the same year.

This raw measure is also supported by more sophisticated economic analysis. Growth trends of innovative startups – and their possible causal linkages with the exposure to the Italian Startup Act – are one of the main aspects investigated by an independent econometric assessment of the impact the Italian Startup Act, performed by the OECD STI Directorate in the last months. It’s a very rich policy evaluation exercise, drawing from multiple data sources, many of them never tapped before: we’re confident that it will represent a benchmark for similar future strategies in the Italian context and elsewhere.

The wrap-up report on the study is to be published in the next couple of months – I’ll keep you posted if you wish.

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

The second output I’d like to share with you is the report on the results of the first census survey on Italian startuppers, “Startup Survey” (link to the report).

The primary aim of this initiative, which was carried out in collaboration with the Italian National Institute of Statistics, was to expand the evidence base on these companies with elements that are not easily grasped through Business Register data. In other words, we aimed to go beyond the “firm side” of the story, and shed light on the humans behind the startups.

For instance, we wanted to put to the test some of the most common stereotypes surrounding startuppers. To name one: are they mostly college freshmen and self-made IT geniuses? The short answer is “no”: most startuppers hold a university degree, sometimes even a PhD, and often have solid professional experience.

Adopting a “sociological” approach, the survey reveals the personal story and mindset of startup founders: from their socio-economical background and their education, to their motivations and preferred source of financing. Moreover, the survey investigated the level of knowledge of the benefits offered by the Startup Act and their perceived impact on entrepreneurial activity, and was open to free-form policy suggestions.


3) Notaries fight back: the digital procedure to register startups is still sub judice

We also have some less exciting news, about a topic some of you may recall: Italy’s new incorporation procedure for startups.

For newer contacts who’ve never heard of this story (outlined in the attached email, sent in October 2017), here’s a round-up: since July 2016, innovative startups can, unlike other Italian companies, be incorporated online, free-of-charge, and with no need for intermediation (while the standard procedure requires assistance from a notary, basically a €2,000 fixed start-up cost). Representative bodies of notaries lodged no less than 12 different appeals since its introduction, arguing it was against Italian and EU law, but we won against all of them: the court deemed the new procedure fully legitimate.

Here comes the bad news: on April 2 notaries appealed against the court’s verdict, and now a higher court will have to rule on the matter.

The Ministry is now preparing our defence: we keep our fingers crossed. Meanwhile, the ecosystem keeps on giving us very positive feedback: in Q1 2018, almost half of newly-founded innovative startups chose the new digital procedure vis-à-vis the traditional incorporation through notarial deed. Needless to say, this makes me – and all the people that worked on the measure – very confident and proud.

Italian startups can now be set up digitally and for free.