The management of the programme is delegated to the National Agency for the Attraction of Investment and Business Development S.P.A. - Invitalia - which operates on the basis of directives from MiSE. The facilitation of the programme is composed of two action lines: Smart and Start. Benefits are provided to businesses on the basis of an evaluation procedure, until the depletion of funds. The procedure for distribution of the benefits is outlined in Ministerial Circular no. 21303 of 20/06/2013.
What are they?
(M.D. 06.03.2013 - Section II)
Recipients of Smart benefits are new small businesses which envision innovative organisational or productive solutions and/or which are oriented towards intercepting new markets and meeting new social needs.
Smart recognises benefits up to and including € 200,000, against business management costs sustained in the first 4 years of business. The whole contribution may be increased to € 300,000, if the beneficiary is an "innovative start-up" as defined in article 25 of the law 221/2012.
Beneficiaries must be in corporate form and located in the regions: Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia, Sicily or in the territories of the Sardinia region eligible under article 107.3 c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
(M.D. 06.03.2013 - Section III)
Recipients of Start benefits are new small businesses which intend to operate in the digital economy, or to carry out investment projects in high-level technology with the goal of economically evaluating the results of public and private research.
Start recognises contributions for technical-management tutoring services, up to and including € 200,000, against investment projects connected to the launch of the business.
Beneficiaries must be in corporate form and located in the regions: Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily.
Initiatives may be facilitated regarding new entrepreneurial sectors aimed at reinforcing the competitiveness of productive systems and supporting the policies of technological transfer and economic evaluation of the results of public and private research.
Companies, including innovative start-ups, which may benefit as outlined by MiSE M.D. 06/03/2013-GURI no. 134 of 10/06/2013, shall:
a) be not more than six months old from the date of presentation of the request for benefits;
b) be of small size, as outlined in Appendix I of the GBER Regulation;
c) have legal and operational headquarters located in the territories of the regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily, in the areas eligible under articles 107.3 a) and 107.3 c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as identified in the Charter of State Assistance to the Regions, relating to the benefits in Section II of this decree, or have legal and operational headquarters in the territories of the regions of the Convergence Objective, relating to the benefits in Section III;
d) be in corporate form, including co-ops, whose partners are exclusively physical persons, remaining fixed as specifically outlined in article 25 of law-decree no. 179/2012 for innovative start-ups;
e) be made up in absolute numerical and participatory majority of physical persons.
Benefits in the MiSE decree of 06/03/2013 may also be requested by physical persons who intend to construct a new business, provided that the business is formally constituted within thirty days from the date of communication sent to the requesters by the admissions manager.
Benefits may not be provided for the support of activities connected with exportation to third countries or member states, for business programmes directly linked to exports, to the constitution and management of a distribution network or to other expenditure linked to exportation, nor for work subjected to the preferential commitment of internal products with respect to imported products.
Also ineligible for the benefits in the M.D. of 06/03/2013 are companies operating in the following sectors:
a) fishing and acquaculture, which are covered by EC Regulation no. 104/2000 of the Council;
b) primary production of agricultural products as per Appendix I to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;
c) transformation and commercialisation of agricultural products as per Appendix I to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;
as well as, limited to the benefits in Section II, in the following sectors:
f) naval construction;
g) synthetic fibre production.
Eligible expenses and costs
The following costs are eligible for assistance as per action line Smart Section II of the M.D. of 06.03.2013:
a) interest on external financing provided to the company, or interest derived from ordinary bank financing provided at market rate, fixed or variable, in amount no larger than the relevant applicable rate at the date of provision of the benefits;
b) costs relating to the purchase of services, machines and technological or scientific equipment, in particular connected to the use of information and communication technology, necessary for the running of the business:
i. expenses for the leasing of instrumental goods, as per letter b), if committed to the planning, realisation, verification and testing, distribution of products and/or services, or research and development activities, of vehicles specifically equipped as mobile laboratories, necessary for the execution of activities relating to the business plan. Excluded are particular cases which amount, in form and/or substance, to the leasing of the company or branches of the company, leasing by entities other than the company, as well as the leasing of vehicles other than those previously stated. The aforementioned expenses may not concern goods owned by the partners, administrators, employees of the company or their immediate families, or leased by companies in which the shareholders are said partners, administrators, employees of the company or their immediate families. The beneficiary company and landlords must not have any kind of reciprocal participation at the corporate level;
ii. leasing fees relating to services, machines and equipment, as per letter b), newly manufactured, eligible in the maximum amounts outlined in the applicable fiscal regulations. Excluded are particular cases which amount, in form and/or substance, to the leasing of the company or branches of the company, as well as leasing by entities other than the company. The aforementioned expenses may not concern goods owned by the partners, administrators, employees of the company or their immediate families, or leased by companies in which the shareholders are said partners, administrators, employees of the company or their immediate families. The beneficiary company and landlords must not have any kind of reciprocal participation at the corporate level. Interest relating to the aforementioned leasing fees is eligible in the maximum amount as per letter a). In the case of an initial instalment, this is not entirely eligible in the payment period, but must be considered within the whole duration of the leasing contract and therefore is eligible within the limits of the portion of the period. Expenses for the release of goods purchased in leasing are not eligible in every case;
iii. amortisation of the services, machines and equipment as per letter b), purchased newly manufactured by the company, eligible in the maximum amount outlined by the applicable fiscal regulations;
c) salary costs, within the maximum limits established by the collective labour agreements, relating to employees of the company, concerning work relationships of fixed term or ongoing, including all responsibilities for payment, contributions, severance and productivity bonuses. Excluded are overtime compensation, family allowances, potential compensation in arrears and other variable elements of remuneration.
The following costs are eligible for assistance as per action line Start Section III of the M.D. of 06/03/2013:
a) services, machines and technological or scientific equipment, necessary for the execution of the investment project;
b) hardware and software components necessary for the investment project;
c) patents and licences;
d) certifications, know-how and technical knowledge, even not patented, if directly related to the production and management demands of the business;
e) planning, development, personalisation, testing of IT architectural solutions and productive technological services, and technological specialist consulting necessary for the investment project, as well as relevant correction and adjustment work.
Expenses as per letters a) and b) must refer to newly manufactured goods; expenses relating to the purchase of vehicles, other than those specifically equipped as mobile laboratories necessary for the development of the business plan, are ineligible.
In the first application phase, the financial resources available for the provision of assistance as per the Ministerial Decree of 06/03/2013 amount to:
a) 100,000,000.00 (one hundred million) euro to be earned on the resources arising from the "coherent projects", as identified in the final execution report of the National Operational Programme "Local Entrepreneurial Development" FESR 2000-2006, for the financing of the amount in letter B of this circular;
b) 90,000,000.00 (ninety million) euro to be earned on the resources of the National Operational Programme for "Research & Competitiveness" FESR 2007-2013 and on the resources of the Cohesion Action Plan, for the financing of the amount in letter C of MiSE Circular no. 21303 of 20/06/2013.