An "innovative startup" is a new company whose business model is characterized by a strong technological character. An innovative start-up is an unlisted limited liability company. It should be newly incorporated or has been operating for less than 5 years. It has headquarters in Italy or has at least a branch in Italy if based in the EU/EEA areas. The annual turnover of the company is lower than 5 million euros. It does not and have not distributed profits in the past. The exclusive or prevalent corporate purpose is the production, development and marketing of innovative goods or services of high technological value. It is not the result of a merger, split-up or selling-off of a company or branch. Lastly, its innovative character is identified by at least one of the following criteria: at least 15% of the greater value between annual costs and turnover can be attributed to R&D activities; at least 1/3 of the total workforce are Ph.D. students, holders of a PhD or researchers; alternatively, 2/3 of the total workforce holds a master’s degree. It is the holder, depositary or licensee of a registered patent, or the owner and author of an original registered software. The company may operate in any economic sector.
How could a company be defined as “innovative” to qualify for Italy’s start-up visa?
I would like to start a business of my own in Italy and use it to apply for a start-up visa. I was told that the business has to be an innovative one. What requirements does the business need to fulfill to be deemed as innovative?
Innovative start-ups are registered in a special section of the Italian companies register. According to Italian law, an innovative start-up needs to be of innovative character. This can be identified if at least 15% of the company’s expenses can be attributed to R&D activities; at least one third of the total workforce are Ph.D. students, the holders of a Ph.D. or researchers or, alternatively, two thirds of the total workforce must hold a master’s degree. Alternatively, the enterprise is the holder, depositary or licensee of a registered patent or the owner of a program for original registered computers.