Relaunch Decree, startups and innovative SMEs are full of incentives

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MILAN – A “qualifying” intervention. So the Undersecretary for Economic Development, Gian Paolo Manzella, defines the ‘Startup package’ which eventually came under the Relaunch decree which arrived in the Official Journal.A set of measures advocated by the Italian innovation ecosystem, which had felt cut off from the measures put on the track by the government with Cura Italia and the Liquidity decree: measures that did not adapt – to feel the protagonists of startups – to the characteristics of young companies that grow quickly, but make few revenues; and who need a lot of capital, with few cash flows, to launch their products on the market.
After some reflections on the presence or absence of coverage, article 38 of the decree responds in principle to the expectations that had been created during the sector hearings. And according to Manzella it is a response that leaves its mark because it gives a sort of legal status to the entire innovative ecosystem, which ranges from businesses to investors.”I want to report – Manzella remarked in a note – four measures that meet the needs of many of the more than 11 thousand Italian startups. The first is the strengthening of financial instruments to inject liquidity and invest in these companies: 100 million for the program Smart and Start of Invitalia and 200 million to intervene with private individuals in the capital of startups. The second are i contributions to finance purchases of incubator and accelerator services and other entities working on their development. The third are tax relief to encourage private investment in the capital of innovative companies. And finally there is a reserve of 200 million for access to guarantees of the Central Guarantee Fund “.

The detail of the measures confirms the 100 million to Invitalia’s program, which is joined by another 10 million that will go into non-refundable contributions (voucher) for the purchase of the services offered by incubators and similar, which accompany startups in their growth. The endowment of 200 million to the Venture Capital Support Fund is intended to support investments in capital, also through participatory instruments, as well as through the provision of subsidized loans, the underwriting of convertible bonds in favor of startups. The Fund also concerns innovative SMEs, reads the text. The decree refers to a decree implementing the Mise within 60 days for the implementation of these measures.

After a passage in which they appeared to be expunged, the text also entered 12-month extension of registration in the register of innovative companies (which has, for example, effects on public incentives and includes the exception to the bankruptcy law: not secondary aspect during the crisis) e the tax incentive to invest in startups and innovative SMEs (provided they are registered in the appropriate register). We talk about relief to individuals, which thus complete the deductions already provided also for companies with larger investment sizes: 50% of the amount invested in the share capital of an innovative startup or SME is also deducted from Irpef, also through collective investment schemes. In the gestation phase, an intervention was also assumed on the companies for the deductibility of the money spent by the companies to acquire startups. In the final formulation, the investment cannot exceed 100 thousand euros and must be maintained for three years. We then try to make the “Investor Visa” program more attractive to intercept international capital by halving the access thresholds. Lastly, the € 4 million fund was confirmed to support the design costs of the video games.

The overall coverage expected is over three years: equal to 314 million euros for the year 2020 and 70.8 million euros in terms of lower revenues in 2021 and 40.5 million euros in 2022.

Among the interventions there is, apart, also the Technology Transfer Fund at the Mise worth a good half billion, entrusted to Enea (against a management fee of 1% – 5 million – and an additional endowment of 12 million) which for this purpose establishes the Enea Tech Foundation. “The measure – reads the provision – in addition to accelerating an industrial policy based on innovation, contributes to the improvement of productivity and resilience of the SME system and to the creation of significant new opportunities for skilled work”. The purpose of the fund is to “encourage the collaboration of public and private entities in the realization of innovation and spin-off projects and can provide for the carrying out of design, coordination, promotion, stimulus to research and development activities through the offer of solutions technologically advanced, innovative processes or products, activities to strengthen structures and disseminate research results, technical-scientific consultancy and training, as well as support activities for the growth of start-ups and SMEs with high innovative potential “. With the money financed, the MISE can authorize the indirect participation in “risk and / or debt capital, also of a subordinate nature, in compliance with the European regulation on state aid” according to parameters to be defined.

Fausto Boni, president of Vc Hub Italia, welcomed the inclusion of the rules but on this last aspect in particular he expects clarifications about the function of the instrument, which hides the risk of overlaps with other forms of intervention (in particular the Innovation Fund) and dispersion of resources. “We hope that in the coming weeks the implementing decrees may include measures that further clarify some rules”. The new general manager of Vc Hub, Francesco Cerruti, hopes that “the important resources will be mainly invested indirectly in other technology transfer funds”.

“All startup associations are celebrating for the approved measures: everything we asked for has passed. With the sole reservation, at the moment, on the Fund for Technology Transfer”, confirms Gianmarco Carnival, president of the Roma Startup association.

MattiaMor (Iv) followed the gestation of the package and on balance he talks about “an important figure, a billion, to allow the growth of a sector that represents the future of our economic development”. The measures go “in the direction I have been working for for two years: increase government awareness of the importance of this ecosystem for our future”. He already thinks about possible corrections in the conversion: “The 50% deduction for the investments of natural persons in start-ups must not have a limit to 100,000 deductible basic euro otherwise we limit the attraction of investments, and the fund from 500 million destined for technology transfer must have the most efficient governance and guidelines possible, so that results are maximized: it will be essential that these are managed in synergy with the best performing private operators on the market “.

“It is an important package, which aligns us with what is being done in other countries and which highlights how much startups are now in the Italian industrial strategy. An important step for our business future: there is and there will be more and more need the ideas and entrepreneurship behind these innovative companies “, concluded Manzella thanking Patuanelli and Gualtieri” for their continuous support in achieving this goal “.

Instead, the upgrading of the Business Plan 4.0, which will have to wait for further measures and new coverage to be found (the Mise had worked on a proposal where the tax credit for digital investments rose from 6% to 10% with an additional bonus – equal to 15% – destined to expenses to facilitate smart working; the remaining spending ceiling remained unchanged to 2 million euros).



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https://www.repubblica.it/economia/2020/05/21/news/decreto_rilancio_pacchetto_startup-257130030/

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