The “Finanziamento Microcredito imprenditoriale” (Entrepreneurship Micro-Credit Loan) is for young people and micro-businesses to help them start up new business activities or invest in growth projects, with the chance for borrowers without necessary economic and capital guarantees to access credit also without collateral. This is possible thanks to a special part of the Guarantee Fund for SMEs set up by the supplementary decree of the Ministry for Economic Development on 18 March 2015.

The loan is to finance the start-up or development of self-employment or micro-businesses or to promote the inclusion of people on the labour market. With a maximum duration of 7 years and maximum amount of 25,000 euro, the loan can be used for purchasing assets (including commodities), or services for activities carried out (including lease payments), paying salaries of new employees or partner staff and paying for training courses to improve professional, technical and managerial skills.

Borrowers can also benefit from additional assistance and monitoring services free of charge: before the loan is granted (support for preparing the business plan and assessing project feasibility) and after the loan has been granted (analysing solutions for improvements and consistency in relation to the business plan). 388 loans for 8.1 million euro were disbursed in 2016.

Production Chain Development

The Italian business system is wide-ranging and extensive comprising small and medium-sized businesses operating in production systems with very strong links to the local area.

Intesa Sanpaolo considers this particular aspect of the Italian system as a great opportunity for the growth of numerous manufacturing companies that excel, thanks to the “Production Chain Programme” – a new and innovative model of cooperation between the bank and businesses, based on three areas:

  • investments, with loans offered at special conditions and training for participating companies;
  • innovation, with new criteria for access to credit, including the identification of the industrial production chain and signing of a specific contract – the production chain agreement – with the lead company;
  • a new approach to granting loans, with the formalisation of the production chain, and a risk assessment that takes account of qualitative elements, the establishment of a production chain limit, and tailor-made commercial offerings dedicated to both companies and their employees.

The “Production Chain Programme” enables businesses to improve credit access conditions, with investments in industrial supply chains and a risk assessment which chiefly considers quality factors. Programme uptake was considerable, with 377 company customers involved as Lead Production Companies at the end of 2016.

The Programme offers considerable potential for production growth: besides developing contracts with lead production companies, over 15 thousand suppliers may be involved overall, for a turnover of more than 64 billion euro and a workforce in excess of 80 thousand employees.

Lead production companies are distributed in 16 regions in Italy, covering all other regions in Italy with their supply chains: the three regions with the highest level of representation are Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont.

The production chains are operative in 21 business segments. The main sectors involved are the food and agricultural industry (27% of production chains), the mechanical and engineering industries (24%) and the fashion industry (12%), followed by furnishing, the chemical industry and electrical engineering industry.

As part of the programme, Mediocredito Italiano tested the new “Conforming” product in 2016, which is an evolved type of indirect factoring for lead production companies, with a more efficient management of trade payables and payments to production systems and credit access procedures/conditions that are particularly favourable for suppliers.