If you wish to start your own business in Italy, you may be wondering how to get funds. Accessing credit in Italy depends on a number of conditions linked to the person applying for financing. It is not easy for everyone, and unfortunately, for a migrant or refugee it can be harder than for others. However, this should not discourage you from doing business, as Italy is full of successful stories of entrepreneurs with a migrant background!
The first step in accessing credit is to have a good business plan that has been tested, and be prepared to talk about it in the most effective and interesting way to convince investors or funding institutions that you have a successful idea of business and you are ready to take on all the work that will come from it.
There are several financing channels to choose from, and in order to select the right one, you should consider the characteristics of the project, of you as entrepreneur or the team and the amount of financing you need. It is always a good strategy to diversify funding channels depending on the opportunity, the moment and for what you are seeking money.
In this article you can learn more about some of the most common funding opportunities to open a business, as well as institutions and organizations that may be of help.
Bank credit is the most traditional channel to get financing. Different lending institutions offer and require different conditions for providing finance. That is why it is always best to contact more than one bank before deciding. Nowadays, there are also several opportunities for subsidized or guaranteed loans, which offer better conditions.
Lending institutions tend to provide financing for business activities that are based in the same area of the lending branch, so it is easier to obtain information if you go directly to the area where the business will be based. A general suggestion might be to try first at the bank where you have your personal bank account open.
In general, the requirements to apply for funding at a bank or other financial institution are:
- Valid permit of stay and codice fiscale
- Bank history
- Proof of income source (if you have one)
- Guarantees to offer, like an open bank account with enough credit, a real estate property, other possessions
- Detailed business plan
- Strengths and weaknesses of the project and enterprise
- Personal investor reporting
- Business risks and market analysis
- Information about the leasing where your business will be located
- Composition and structure of the company
Some banks or credit agencies offer specific support to people under 35 and female entrepreneurs who wish to start a business.
Have a look at the 'Who can help' section below!
Microcredit is a small amount of credit to start a business, intended for individuals who generally face barriers to access official forms of financing and credit, the so-called non-bankable persons who do not meet the financial requirements to access bank credit. The maximum amount of a microcredit loan is now up to €40,000.
Have a look at the 'Who can help' section below!
Crowdfunding is today among the most widespread and effective ways of financing creative entrepreneurial projects. There are several specialized web portals as well as different types of crowdfunding - have a look at the 'Who can help' paragraph!
To be successful, a crowdfunding campaign must have a strong communication strategy and use different communication channels and social media. It often works better if you can already count on people who know you or your project and are willing to sponsor it, either through donations or through visibility, by sharing your campaign among their contacts.
The crowdfunding campaign can, in some cases, also be an interesting marketing action to make your project or products known. Some platforms are exclusively dedicated to non-profit projects, others to entrepreneurial activities, and to access some of them you need to go through a process of evaluation regarding your project.
Crowdfunding is based on the offer of a reward, and depending on the type, we can distinguish a number of different models:
- Reward-based: you have to provide a non-monetary reward for the funder, such as the product or a public thank-you.
- Equity-based: allows the donor to become a shareholder of the financed project.
- Lending-based: allows institutions and businesses to lend and borrow, so the capital you obtain has to be paid back.
In addition to the simple donation with no strings attached, there are two different models, linked to the rules related to the settled budget:
- Collect all: you can collect the funds even if your campaign does not reach the predefined budget.
- All or nothing: you will have access to the donation only when and if the predefined budget you have settled is reached.
A business angel is an informal venture capitalist, that is someone who finances a start-up. It is important to specify that they are equity investors, this means that this type of financing implies selling shares of your company on the basis of an agreement.
Generally, the business angel intervenes in the early stage to finance particularly innovative projects and financing starts from a minimum of €5.000 up to a maximum of €500.000. The business angel also invests in risky projects, but it is absolutely necessary to prove the financial viability of your project.
It is possible to finance an entrepreneurial project through private or public tenders. Usually, this channel is available mainly for projects in the non-profit sector or those that have a positive impact on society or the environment. There are different types of tenders at local, national or European level.
In order to participate, it is very often required to partner up with other teams or business activities, to foster collaboration between different businesses. Sometimes collaborations may concern only certain aspects of a project: the availability of a property, the registration of the brand, the development of a particular activity.
Who can help
We have selected several organizations and institutions that can support you financially and administratively in your path to become an entrepreneur:
- Chamber of Commerce: FUTURAE project of Unioncamere
- Soleterre - Project Entreprise4Integration
- MicroLab (business training and mentoring)
- Fondazione Finanzaetica and Banca Etica
- Ente Nazionale per il Microcredito: Project A.MI.CI - Accesso al Microcredito per Cittadini Immigrati
- Ente Nazionale per il Microcredito: Project SELFIEmployment
- Fondazione Grameen Italia - SportHello
- Sportello on line imprenditorialità (UNC Umbria)
- Crowdfunding web portals here and here
- Bank credit here and here.