Parties speak little about startups and innovative companies

Parties speak little about startups and innovative companies

The startup law turns ten. It was the year 2012 when the technical government led by Mario Monti took home what would become the watershed for the innovation sector. Bureaucratic simplifications for constitution, access to venture capital, crowdfunding: today there are over fourteen thousand companies registered in the special register. It worked. An OECD study, dated 2018, shows that the status of an innovative company increases the chances of finding trust on the part of banks. But in general, ten years later, an ecosystem was created of which there was no trace, and it was not even easy to imagine.

The national innovation fund "With regard to startups, Italy is is developing in a homogeneous way both from a territorial point of view and from that of the industrial sectors involved - reflects with Enrico Resmini, CEO of Cdp Venture Capital Sgr, the technological arm of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti born in 2020 with a mission: to create the infrastructure for the country of the future -. We are present in digital transformation, in life sciences, in technologies applied to production processes. Then there are robotics, agritech, fintech itself. Of course, a Region like Lombardy leads the ranking, but there are many other ecosystems, for example in Puglia, Campania, Lazio, Tuscany ”.

Cdp Venture has 240 stakes in companies, 1.8 billion euros the current endowment; another 2.5 are on the way, partly thanks to the NRR (the National Recovery and Resilience Plan). There was pressure, energies waiting to find an outlet. “We are capitalizing on the important years when the system was still immature. We had a lot of academic research, where we are traditionally strong, which, however, could not turn into a business - continues Resmini -. These five billion can create a leverage effect and attract foreign investors eager to enter the Italian market. But - and this is a fundamental point, underlined by many observers - we must remember that when startups grow they need to be accompanied by important capital ".

Resmini deepens the reflection: "The goal for Italy must be to create healthy, robust companies that hire, which have an impact on the social, ecosystem, environment, industry. I repeat, companies: startup is an American definition but in fact it is simply a young company, which, however, must grow and find its own path ". That is, having an impact on the real economy. The culture of the exit does not produce wealth for the territory, nor does it redistribute it. And the theme, speaking of innovation, is not a peregrine one.

Which sectors would Resmini bet on? "I am very convinced that deep tech is the one that will give us the greatest satisfaction. In particular, I think we are very well positioned on life sciences. And then there is a world trend, that of agritech: the food of the future, the transformation processes. In short, not just digital innovation. "And he adds:" Maintenance is needed. Like all laws, the startup act also needs it, on the same key aspects of 2012. I am referring to facilitations in opening a business , in the inflow of capital and also on how the talent market becomes more fluid and qualifies ".

It should be emphasized that, for once, the successive executives have respected the work of their predecessors. for a good reason: if a country's industrial policy cannot be based on startups, innovation increases labor productivity on equal terms, therefore GDP and consequently growth. Which is the main way to reduce debt. ito public and free resources.

Whoever will govern, will have the task of guiding with a steady hand the growth of an ecosystem that has come out of its strata, has potential, but must become structurally strong. The coordination action of the executives will have to concentrate energies on strategic sectors and on those capable of having an impact. Even (but no one says it) becoming an opportunity for fifty-year-olds who risk missing the train of digital transformation.

Let's see what the parties are proposing:

5 Star Movement People's Union Possible Democratic Party Italia viva-Action Italexit Center-right Brothers of Italy Lega Forza Italia Green Europe-Italian Left + Europe Cybersecurity in the programs electoral, this unknown Attacks on critical infrastructures, companies and public bodies should attract the attention of parties, which instead say little or nothing on the issue. The only exception: the League. A worrying lack of interest for the future of the country 5 Star Movement The proposal by Giuseppe Conte and the pentastellati also in this case is articulated on a few points but it should still be noted that, in the legislature that is about to end, the Movement has definitely supported the ecosystem of innovation.

The document talks about incentives for youth entrepreneurship (but what kind?) and de-bureaucratization for startups. It would have been cheap to indicate what measures you want to take. Then we read a generic "investing in the Italian innovation ecosystem" (but how much?) And "defining an industrial plan based on strategic technologies for the future".

Popular union The word startup is missing in the program of the party of Luigi De Magistris. Instead, there is talk of "support for businesses that hire young people also with a reduction in the tax burden and administrative and bureaucratic simplification".

Possible Also in the party program of Pippo Civati ​​and Beatrice Brignone the word "startup" is missing. The party, however, speaks widely of digitization.

Democratic Party Support and simplification measures in a scenario "that combines innovation, competition and sustainability": this is the vision of the Democratic Party. It is proposed the extension of the 50% personal income tax deduction to all types of startups for individuals under the age of thirty-five and the establishment in the South of "training centers on nnovables and green transition, real international hubs, capable of attracting skills and investments, of offering concrete job prospects to young people in the South, of strengthening Italian leadership in the green economy ".

Enrico Letta also undertakes to create a "National Fund for pluralism, quality information and the fight against disinformation", to be financed through a levy on online advertising revenues for large digital platforms . "The Fund will finance young journalists and digital information startups, while for the cultural and creative industries we offer tax incentives, forms of facilitating access to credit and the promotion of innovative financing tools".

Italia viva-Action Using part of the 200 million euros of the NRP destined for employment centers (CPI) to teach young people to become entrepreneurs and startuppers: this is the proposal of Carlo Calenda and Matteo Renzi, both historically linked to the world of innovation: "The PES will thus have to assist startups by providing legal and regulatory advice, support for requests for public funds and participation in tenders, search for personnel".

Another proposal: completely eliminate the taxation of capital gains on investments in startups and venture capital and increase the tax incentive for those who invest, to attract a greater share of investment from pension funds and insurance companies in the real economy. The issue has been underlined by many actors in the business world, and it is certainly acceptable, given the volumes involved.

The third pole also believes that it is necessary to raise the tax credit rate for companies that carry out investments in innovation bringing it to 50% (restoring the version of the Renzi government, they point out), providing for an increase if university research centers, other startups or innovative SMEs are involved.

The program talks about a policy of tax deductions for the under 40s who aim to create new entrepreneurial realities, to encourage investments by the armed forces in the continuous training of bodies specialized in cybersecurity, a fund for deep tech including blockchain (but with what kind of endowment?) and a dedicated unit of the Ministry of Innovation on artificial intelligence. Finally, the space economy is also mentioned.

Italexit Gianluigi paragone's party supports links "between universities, schools, the world of work, research and entrepreneurial startups", but does not add anything else.

What fate awaits industry 4.0 in party programs There are those who ignore the issue of the digitalization of businesses, those who speak very vaguely about it and those who instead present more concrete proposals. The theme is especially close to Renzi and Calenda, proponents of the government's first plan on the subject, but it is fundamental for the future of the country Center-right The center-right slips away quickly on the issue of startups in the common program: in the text it reads "support for entrepreneurship youth, incentives for the creation of technological and social startups ". Furthermore, there is talk of supporting the "promotion of an Italian supply chain for innovation in agriculture". Not much. The programs of the individual parties are more detailed, with the League going into details, especially fiscal ones, of what it intends to do.

Fratelli d'Italia The team led by Giorgia Meloni wants to strengthen the system of business incubators " guaranteeing adequate spaces, services, support and consultancy at no cost for the start-up phase ". Zero taxes for the first three years for young people under 30 who set up on their own and incentives for companies that hire children, reads the program, "strengthening of funds for youth self-employment and streamlining of access procedures". Finally, “greater investments in research, digitalization and technology transfer; favor the synergy between universities and private individuals in the field of research and patents; ten-year programming of research and innovation funding; relaunching the figure of the researcher ".

Lega The articulated program of the Lega also reserves a lot of space for startups. Technicalities abound, but they show attention to the topic. There is a clear prevalence of tax aspects, with clear indications of the measures to be taken, over strategic ones. The proposals of Salvini's party are so many that it is not possible to bring them all back.

It begins with "providing for the possibility for beneficiaries of tax credits for research and development to opt instead of direct use for the transfer, even partial, of the same to other subjects, therein including credit institutions and other financial intermediaries ". So there is talk of encouraging (also through tax incentives), research, development and innovation activities by companies and encouraging "study and experimentation in the following sectors": medical and health sciences, biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, telemedicine, data analytics, artificial intelligence, digital health, bioengineering, biotechnology and medical and health devices.

We want to strengthen the current legislation on startups "indicating, with regard to the tax credit in research and development, the subsidized expenses without applying a distinction between the admitted costs "; "Reviewing the mechanism for using the same tax credit in favor of reimbursement methods, including direct ones, increasing the use of innovative startups in alternative financing instruments to bank credit". We also want to raise the limit of the guarantee granted by the fund of the same name for startups to 90%, making the measure structural.

The program continues with "the tax exemption of capital gains and losses on investments intended for investments in startups, or by taxing the capital gains realized by individuals through divestment, if the collected sums are reinvested in an innovative start-up within a time frame of four years "; the extension of the "legislation on the taxation of capital gains deriving from the sale of stakes in innovative startups also to indirect investments"; confirm the possibility of converting tax losses into tax credits.

With regard to the Stock Exchange, we want to develop the access and permanence of SMEs in the capital market "by introducing measures aimed at reducing timing and facilitating transition from SME Growth Markets to the regulated market "; introducing the figure of semi-professional investors; strengthen the incentives for Italian companies that buy startups from investment funds or invest in them, in order to favor and facilitate inbound and outbound investment operations; increase resources for research and support for venture capitalists. The part on insurance investments is interesting: "We propose to reduce the capital requirements when an insurance company wisely decides to invest in the real economy with non-speculative long-term investments, with particular attention to infrastructure, digital, SMEs and startup ". Finally, deduction of at least 75% of direct investments by private individuals and a plan to bring back startups and developing companies founded by Italians abroad through tax incentives.

Forza Italia Short the Forza Italia program, which speaks of support for youth entrepreneurship, incentives for the creation of technological and / or social start-ups, also through innovative finance tools, enhancement of simplification, structural incentives and tax credits for companies that reconvert and invest in eco-innovation and new technologies. There is an unspecified "reform of innovation agreements" accompanied by "creation of the conditions to develop innovation, research, competitiveness for transition and digitalization". Finally, "allocations of ad hoc resources for the activation of innovation poles and for young and female entrepreneurship".

Green Europe-Italian Left "Technological innovation can become an opportunity to improve our quality of life, or the tool to increase the profits of the few and the unemployment of the many ”. This is what the Nicola Fratoianni-Angelo Bonelli tandem thinks. The program talks about "encouraging the formation of cooperative consortia on the Italian territory, the formation of new companies and startups to promote youth entrepreneurship". And they add: "We believe that the State should promote investments that determine the development of new national champions in sectors deemed strategic, making use of the support of the university system and aiming to create new and innovative production chains." Many declarations of principle, but few or none indication of what you want to do practically for startups.

+ Europe A short passage dedicated to startups Emma Bonino's party proposes "a reconsideration of the role of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti as an aggregator of resources, not of companies and the recovery of the role of supporting the change processes of businesses and administrations ".

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