Intesa Sanpaolo supports women in business, in setting up and managing successful businesses, helping them as they build up their expertise.

Women in business have a major role particularly for SMEs (accounting for 13% of total businesses) and especially in the north east of the country. The strategic profile of these companies highlights a greater tendency to serve international markets and focus on marketing and technological innovation. Intesa Sanpaolo has developed an agreement with Confindustria to support women entrepreneurs in creating and managing successful companies, through a systematic growth process that supports them from the outset.

With “Business Gemma”, the Bank has allocated a total of 600 million euro – available until 31 December 2017 – for businesses run by women and for women freelance workers. 450 loans for 15.8 million euro have been disbursed.

The “Business Gemma” loan also offers the chance to freely benefit from the special segment guarantee of the “SMEs Guarantee Fund” dedicated to female businesses and to request, once during the repayment period, up to twelve-month suspension of the instalment repayment of the loan principal amount in the event of maternity leave, serious illness (also of the spouse and children) or disabling illness of a parent, blood relative or relative by marriage up to the third degree who lives with the applicant. “Business Gemma” services also include an insurance policy that offers insurance cover and welfare services to address the problems of achieving a work/life balance. The areas of action envisaged are maternity, assistance, aid and legal protection in times of difficulty of the private life of the business woman and illness. 288 new policies were underwritten during 2016.

In Albania, a total of 200,000 euro was disbursed to fund 6 business women (the project started halfway through 2016); in Serbia, 411 loans were disbursed amounting to 4.6 million euro (575 loans totalling 6.3 million since 2015); in Slovakia, VÚB Banka continued to partner the Business Academy during 2016, with training workshops for women who want to set up their own business (20 participants).

Additional training workshops and mentoring also took place thanks to a partnership with the Impact Hub incubator: more than 300 women were able to hone their technical skills and apply them to developing new business initiatives.

Entrepreneurship among non-EU nationals will be increasingly important for a more inclusive social and economic development (individual companies opened by non-EU citizens in 2015 went up by nearly 23,000, to total over 350,000). Under the agreement signed by Intesa Sanpaolo and Confindustria, initiatives may be identified to carry out jointly to support businesses set up in Italy by non-EU nationals.