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Italy: Key Issues and Policies

image of Italy: Key Issues and Policies

This review underlines some important points of strength with respect to Italian SMEs and entrepreneurship, notably for medium-sized firms that very often excel in their market niches, have a strong propensity to business collaboration, as well as favourable access to finance. The review also looks at the challenges that lie ahead for Italy, hard hit by the global economic crisis, notably among micro and small firms. Recovery will mean, among other things, removing barriers to business growth, streamlining the complexity of the Italian tax system, and opening the business environment to competition, foreign direct investment and equity financing, as well as improving training and workforce skills.

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SME and entrepreneurship issues and policies in Italy: Assessment and recommendations

SMEs and entrepreneurs are the backbone of the Italian economy. With nearly 100 enterprises per thousand people its business density is one of the highest among OECD countries. One-quarter of the working population is self-employed, the second-highest rate in the European Union (EU). Italian SMEs contribute 80% of national employment and 67% of value added, the third and fifth highest shares in the OECD area respectively. SMEs are also at the core of Italy’s export and innovation performance, accounting for over 50% of the total volume of exports and 22% of business R&D investment. The share of firms that are young, with less than three years of age (14% of Italian enterprises), is in line with the most entrepreneurial OECD economies.

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