A New Stimulus Package For Italian Start-Ups

Author:Studio Legale Bernascone & Soci
Profession:Studio Legale Bernascone & Soci

Growth and Innovation. On October 4, 2012 the Italian Government passed a new bill offering innovative start-ups, researchers and investors a vast array of legal and tax instruments aimed at fostering growth and innovation, and attracting investment capitals to Italy. The bill is the latest of a series of measures enacted by the Italian Government to spur investments in innovative and technologically advanced fields, thus stimulating growth in strategic industries. The stimulus package is expected to enter into force within the next few weeks.

Innovative Start-ups. The new stimulus measures apply to innovative start-ups that meet the following requirements:

The majority of capital must be owned by individuals; The corporate seat must be located in Italy and the company must be incorporated and active for no longer than 48 months; Revenues per year, starting from the second year of activity, must not exceed €5 million and there must be no distribution of profits; The sole corporate mission must be to develop and manufacture highly technological innovative products or services; The company must not originate from a merger, a demerger or transfer of business; R&D expenses must be at least equal to 30% of the total expenses or revenues, whichever is higher; At least one third of employees must be PhDs, PhD candidates or researchers; The company must be owner or licensee of protected intellectual property. Incubators. The stimulus package also applies to certified incubators, i.e., entities providing services to start-ups, including use of premises, facilities, consulting services.

Corporate benefits. Start-ups will be granted an extended timeframe for covering losses as compared to ordinary companies (two fiscal years; one if losses caused the corporate capital to decrease below the statutory minimum).

Start-ups incorporated in the form of limited liability companies will be able to issue participations with limited, non-proportional or no voting rights, and different categories of quotas may be freely created: these are all options...

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