What benefits can a startup count on today? What can be expected for the future, especially in the fintech sector? During a mentorship meeting, proposed to the startups of our fintech ecosystem, we had the opportunity to talk with mentor Marco Pozzi, Innovation Consultant of Leyton, one of the players in the FD marketplace.
What are the 3 most important benefits for startups in 2020?
The panorama of benefits for startups in 2020 is very varied: among the various decrees issued during the Covid-19 emergency, measures aimed at strengthening the startup ecosystem have also been defined, with a focus on innovative ones. Although each measure has to be considered individually, some of the most important ones include
- Smart&Start: is the main national tool to support the birth and development of innovative high-tech startups. The facility consists of zero interest financing
- SME Guarantee Fund: thanks to the Liquidity Decree, the possibility of obtaining public guarantees to support financing provided by 31 December 2020 has been strengthened, with advantageous conditions such as the automatic and free issue of the guarantee and the absence of creditworthiness assessment by the Fund
- The Tax Credit for Research & Development and Technological Innovation and the Tax Credit for Instrumental Goods and Software: these represent a commercial lever to be used to offer services to customers and prospects, especially after the recent equalisation of innovative startups to universities and research institutes. In the case of extra-muros research, in fact, thanks to contracts entrusted to innovative startups you can in fact benefit from an increase of 50% of the costs eligible for the R&D tax credit.
From your point of view, how are the new facilities impacting on the startup ecosystem and in particular on the fintech ones?
With regard to the measures put in place, we can discuss the extent or mode of operation, but there is no doubt they are having an impact on the entire ecosystem and have implemented, at least in part, the requests promoted by trade associations and the proposals of the most influential players.
In addition to those already mentioned, measures have been launched in direct support of startups such as the extension from 5 to 6 years of permanence in the registry for innovative startups There are also incentive measures for the entire ecosystem such as the one to increase capital from third parties by raising IRPEF deductions in favour of investors or the establishment of a national fund to support venture capital.
The redefinition of development and investment guidelines in recent years is having a positive impact especially on fintech. It is in fact one of the sectors that offers the greatest opportunities thanks to the general digitisation process, but also thanks to specific applications, such as open innovation and open banking, or the use of new technologies such as blockchain or artificial intelligence. It is essential, however, that the horizon of these initiatives is not limited to the national market alone, but leverages skills and opportunities at a European and global level as a drive to engage the scaleup phase.
In 2021 what news should we expect in terms of facilities and if you were a startup what measures, would you wish to see implemented?
It is difficult to make predictions, especially in a complex period like this. The government has had to face many problems and meet the demands of almost the entire entrepreneurial fabric. In order to make interventions more effective, it will be increasingly necessary to identify the priorities on which to concentrate resources as a stimulus for restarting. The lack of investment – an issue often highlighted as the main cause of the economic backwardness of our country compared to the rest of Europe – is a topic that can no longer be postponed. All measures aimed at freeing up resources and simplifying their use are desirable. In this sense, some useful tools could be an increase in tax rates to support investments in R&D and technological innovation, the offsetting of receivables and payables to the PA, the possibility of assigning or liquidating accrued tax credits, or the possibility of issuing venture debt also to leverage innovative banks. The resources that will come from the Recovery Fund and the 2021-2027 Programming of EU funds cannot be wasted as in the past.
If I were a startup I would hope for:
- greater awareness of large companies in considering startups as a differential competitive element, supporting open innovation or corporate venture programs;
- major opportunities to access the expertise of professionals who can help improve processes and optimize performance without losing focus on my strategy;
- major timing and determination on behalf of institutions to support the most fragile players, especially in a context such as the current one, but which, instead, represent the engine for the development of an economy.
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