FT praises Milan: Italy’s start-up hub

Government fosters innovative young customers.

Respected UK daily Financial Times has singled out Milan as Italy’s “destination for start-ups, at least in part because of the impetus and increase in vitality that followed the city’s hosting last year” of Expo Milano 2015.

Although start-ups are clustered in all of the peninsula’s major cities, Italy’s fashion, business and financial capital has created the largest hub, reports Rachel Sanderson in the daily. The city hosts the largest share of the 6,000 start-up applications filed since the announcement of the 2013 growth decree, extended by the current government and including legislation to make it easier to found innovative businesses, the article points out.

Of these, over a thousand are based in Lombardy, and 800 in Milan alone.

Advantages enjoyed by qualifying projects include exception from certain taxes, more flexible employment contracts and less onerous bankruptcy procedures in case of failure.

Sanderson quotes as other advantages the “temperate climate, good food and an abundance of artistic treasures.”

But her article warns that the downside is Italy’s bureaucracy, which it describes as “an insurmountable barrier for some new business owners”, leading to “a flight of young talent” and the creation of communities of Italian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and London.

Milan has recently hosted the launch of GrowITup at the city’s new multifunctional workspace base in Via Tortona. The project is an accelerator created by Microsoft and the Cariplo Foundation to help start-ups contact international investors, as well as the major Italian concerns likely to foster the new business.

GropITup has set the objective of reaching a billion euros of investment over the next three years, by concentrating on sectors in which Italy is already a leader, as well as creating 10,000 new jobs.