Ability to defer payments related to VAT and earnings taxes in the coming months, changes to employment legislation so as to reduce employee working hours, specific funding structures for startups that are unable to complete capital increases by the way of the crisis, loans facilitated and guaranteed by the state, without limits related to the company's turnover: these are some of the measures proposed in the main European economies for safeguard startups.
Many of these, for example in France or UK, have also already been implemented. The situation is different in Italy where, despite the sector suffering, the government has not yet issued any provision and innovative companies do not have access, in most cases, to the loans provided for by the liquidity decree linked to the turnover parameters . Here too, however, the startup and innovation ecosystem is moving.
The letter to the government
A letter sent by the representatives of this world leads the reference association Italy Startup, asks that innovative entrepreneurship find a central role in solutions to deal with the Covid-19 emergency, to support startups during the difficult economic situation in the short term and to involve them in growth plans in response to the economic crisis. «At this particular moment it is more than ever necessary to support startups and all the players in the innovation ecosystem by activating all the tools to equip them with liquidity which is today the true PPE for our innovators - declares Angelo Coletta, president of Italia Startup -. Italia startup, together with all the other players in the sector, will bring a structured proposal of proposals in this direction to the government table. France has just allocated 4 billion. Now it's up to Italy ».
The letter calls for interventions starting from short-term ones: from the establishment of a national task force and a «Startup ambassador» to establish a continuous dialogue between government and innovators to that of a one-stop shop to inform startups and provide them access to all the tools available to face the crisis. Measures are also requested to ensure that startups do not face a liquidity crisis following the slowdown in the global economy, including postponing monthly tax and social deadlines, a freeze on the repayment of government investments, the injection of capital in ecosystems through refinancing and liquidity measures.
Finally, among the proposals there is the tax deduction at 65% for all investments in SMEs and innovative startups up to a maximum of 1 million euros, for investments made by 30 October 2020 and, in the event of staff recruitment or re-introduction from the layoff, cancellation of contributions for the whole year 2020.
The petition for a «startup emergency act»
Also VC Hub Italia, venture capital association, has moved to ask for measures to support the sector and has launched a petition on Change.org entitled A future without a future? Startup emergency act which has exceeded 5,000 adhesions. The requests range from the extension to startups and innovative SMEs of the measures contained in the Cura Italia decree to exceptional initiatives in support of the innovation chains to give the Italian ecosystem the same conditions as European competitors. "The sum of 500 million euros originally designed for the package in support of startups should not be subject to downward compromises, since this is a minimum fraction of what has been put in place by other countries", underlines Fausto Boni, president of VC Hub, in an interview with Corriere della Sera.
VC Hub strives for the creation of a special fund for the sector which provides for the disbursement of subsidized long-term loans for an amount equal to four times the investment received starting from February 2020 by investors or partners of startups and innovative SMEs . "A one-off measure is needed - concludes Boni - which provides for a non-repayable loan to cover fixed costs at 50% supported by businesses. To be adequate, this fund should be at least 200 million in size ».