Women’s business fund, what it is and how it works

An important news coming for women. Starting in May the Women’s Enterprise Fund was launched, which encourages women to start and strengthen entrepreneurial activities. A support strongly desired by the Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti, which becomes operational starting in May with the opening of the application submission desks.

“The main purpose of this intervention is to act to create a fertile environment for new entrepreneurs”, said Giorgetti, underlining that there are no age limits to access the concessions also aimed at recovering “the gap in the female employment rate that separates Italy from other European countries, especially in the South “.

These are incentives “that are created to help real businesses, which do not take contributions,” Giorgetti continued. The application to receive the contributions, “must not arise to take the contribution, but there must be an entrepreneurial idea, the courage, the spirit that is what then creates development”, underlined the minister, who added that State supports “the valid ideas of women who put themselves on the line. There are many women ready to accept the challenge “.

The measure is part of the PNRR

The Women’s Enterprise Fund supports the emergence, development and consolidation of women-led enterprises through non-repayable grants and subsidized loans. It has a total financial endowment of approximately 200 million eurosof which 160 million euros of PNRR resources and 40 million euros allocated by the 2021 Budget law.

The measure is part of the package of interventions promoted by the Mise in support of female enterprises, indicated as priorities in the PNRR mission “Inclusion and cohesion”, which made available a total financial endowment of 400 million euros.

In this first phase, the Fund provides for the opening of online counters and the activation of actions to accompany, train and enhance the entrepreneurial culture of women.

With forthcoming ministerial measures, the other measures already initiated as ON Enterprises (Beyond New Businesses at zero rate) will then be refinanced, to support the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed businesses, and Smart & Start, to support startups and innovative SMEs.

Who can apply for aid

Il Fondo supports female businesses of any size, already established or newly established, with headquarters in all Italian regions.

Individuals can also apply for a loan, with the commitment to set up a new company after any admission to the facilities.

The measure is aimed at four types of female businesses:

  • cooperatives or partnerships with at least 60% female members
  • joint-stock company with at least two-thirds women shares and members of the administrative bodies
  • sole proprietorships with female owners
  • self-employed women with VAT number.

The benefits are granted for investment programs in these sectors:

  • industry
  • craftsmanship
  • processing of agricultural products
  • services
  • trade
  • turismo.

How much is it up to

Financing depends on what type of business you have.

If a freelancer wants to set up a new business, or the business has been established for less than 12 months, investment projects of up to 250 thousand euros can be presented.. The Fund provides a non-repayable grant that varies according to the size of the project:

  • for projects up to 100 thousand euros, the subsidy covers up to 80% of expenses (or up to 90% for unemployed women) within a maximum of 50 thousand euros;
  • for projects up to 250 thousand euros, the subsidy covers 50% of the costs, up to a maximum of 125 thousand euros.

If, on the other hand, you have an active business for more than 12 months, you can submit investment projects of up to 400 thousand euros to develop new businesses or to expand existing businesses. In this case, the Fund provides for a mix of non-repayable grant and zero-interest loan, with coverage of up to 80% of eligible expenses, for a maximum of 320 thousand euros, to be repaid over 8 years.

In both cases, no minimum investment project value is requiredthat it will have to be completed in 24 months.

Spending plans can predict investment expenses and labor costs. Expenses for working capital are also eligible, within a maximum of 20% of the eligible expenditure program (or 25% for companies over 36 months). The contribution to working capital is granted entirely as a grant only for companies over 36 months old.

Proposers may also request, at the time of completing the application, the technical-management assistance service which comprises:

  • and tutoringduring the project implementation phase, to accompany companies in using the facilities, support them in preparing requests for funding or other project documentation, and transfer specialist skills, through online or face-to-face meetings that will be planned together with the tutor
  • and 2 thousand euro voucher to be used to cover 50% of the cost incurred by businesses for the purchase of marketing or strategic communication services with a minimum value of 4 thousand euros.

How and when to apply

The submission of the application involves a first phase of compilation and a subsequent submission of the application to be made on the Invitalia online platform (here you will also find all the necessary forms), which will be activated according to the opening dates of the door.

The door will be opened in two successive stages:

  • for new companies, or those established for less than 12 months, the compilation will be available starting from 10.00 am on May 5th 2022, while the submission of the application will be possible from 10.00 am on May 19th 2022
  • for businesses that have started up, established for more than 12 months, the compilation will be from 10.00 on 24 May 2022, while the presentation will start at 10.00 on 7 June 2022.

To access the platform, reachable from 10.00 to 17.00 from Monday to Friday (excluding holidays), you must be in possession of one digital identity (SPID, CNS, CIE).

Also, it is important to have one digital company and a certified e-mail address (PEC) of the legal representative of the company already established at the time of presentation, or of the natural person as a partner or contact person of the company to be incorporated.

During the compilation phase, the platform will carry out some automatic checks with the Register of Companies that will allow a quick report of any information to be updated or corrected in order to submit the application correctly.

The compilation, digitally signed, will end with the issue of the “application preparation code”which will be used when submitting the application.

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