22. Italy – Consip

22.1. SMEs in the national economy

SMEs represent 99.9% of all firms in Italy; the share of micro-enterprises is higher than the EU average across all sectors. Over the past few years, micro and (most notably) small firms were hit hard by the economic downturns. The latter experienced a steep drop in terms of number, employment (both down by more than 15% in 2014 compared with 2007) and, to a slightly lesser extent, value added.

Table ‎22.1. Distribution of firms in Italy, 2014
(By firm size)


Total active enterprises*

Enterprises according to the SBS Regulation (No 295/2008)**

Firm size (employees)





All firms

4 263 878


3 690 146


SMEs (up to 249)

4 260 500


3 687 069


Micro (up to 9)

4 065 829


3 505 828


Small (10-49)

174 032


162 709


Medium (50-249)

20 639


18 532


Large (250+)

3 378


3 077


Note: * Financial and insurance activities are excluded. ** Data include all market activities in Sections B through N (excluding K) of the common statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community as established by Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006 (Nace Rev. 2). Data include firms with and without employees.

Source: (OECD, 2017[1]).

22.2. National policy framework to support SMEs in public procurement

Consip, as the central purchasing body, runs the “Programme for the Rationalisation of Public Purchases” on behalf of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), by performing framework agreements and dynamic purchasing systems, and managing the public digital marketplace (MePA) (see Box 2.8 for further information), for the benefit of the entire public administration.

Consip has strengthend its co-operation with suppliers’ institutional representatives through establishment of Supplier Training Desks (Sportelli in Rete project) (see Box 2.13 for further information). Today there are more than 370 Supplier Training Desks operating all over the country, at local and regional levels. Consip provides free assistance and training on the benefits of a fair and transparent public procurement system, achieved through among others digitalisation, to these Desks that support thousands of Italian small firms and micro-enterprises,.

22.3. Implementation mechanisms

Consip communicates its upcoming procurement opportunities through its website (www.consip.it) and social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Telegram Messenger and YouTube). In particular, its site has a devoted section titled “Mondo Gare” that features updates on tenders notices, and another section named “Consultazioni del mercato”, which provides early market engagement opportunities to any enterprise willing to reply to the market consultation questionnaires.

Information about upcoming tenders can also be consulted on www.acquistinretepa.it, the national public e-procurement platform of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, managed by Consip. Specifically, the homepage section named “Ultimi bandi per le imprese” provides the most recent tender notices for enterprises. Furthermore, in section “Bandi – Atri bandi” (notices – other notices), all ongoing ASP (Application Service Provider) tenders, which are carried out either by Consip or by individual contracting authorities (CA), are listed. This web area also features an interesting section named “Bandi – RdO aperte” (notices – open RfQ), showcasing all the RfQ (Requests for Quotations) below the EU threshold, launched by individual CAs on the MePA. Any enterprise qualified on the MePA, especially SMEs, can participate.

22.4. Monitoring performance

In order to assess SME participation in its public procurement activities, Consip measures, among other things:

  1. 1. the number of SMEs qualified on the MePA;

  2. 2. the number of SMEs being awarded a contract on the MePA and through any other kind of procedure;

  3. 3. the number of new qualified SMEs on the MePA;

  4. 4. the share of contracts value awarded to SMEs on the MePA and through any other kind of procedure;

  5. 5. the SMEs trade balance, on the MePA, indicating the ratio between purchases and sales in each Italian region;

  6. 6. an upcoming public expenditure geographical referencing (for more details on the geographical referencing please refer to the promotional video on Youtube Consip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qglw-Y16To0&feature=youtu.be)


[1] OECD (2017), Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2017: An OECD Scoreboard, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/fin_sme_ent-2017-en.

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