On 10 March 2016, the Minister of Labour and Social Policies, Giuliano Poletti announced the launch of two important, innovative and interrelated projects. The Growing entrepreneurs education project, that will be financed through the SELFIEmployment fund, aims at improving access and use of financial resources and training opportunities offered by the Youth Guarantee measures.

The SELFIEmployment fund will be managed by Invitalia, the National Agency for attracting investments and enterprise development, under the Ministry of Economy. The fund will provide loans, from EUR 5 000 to 50 000, to young people already included in Youth Guarantee lists –18 to 29 years old – who are interested in self-entrepreneurship initiatives. The available funds will be EUR 124 million. Loans will be interest-free, with no real guarantees requested, with an amortisation schedule for a period of seven years, repayable in monthly deferred instalments.

Presentation and selection of projects to be financed by SELFIEmployment will be through the specific VET initiative Growing entrepreneurs. This addresses young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET) and aims to support and promote self-employment through start-up of individual businesses. The VET project is promoted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, as the Youth Guarantee programme management authority, in cooperation with Unioncamere, the national network of the chambers of commerce, industry, handicrafts and agriculture. The project is jointly funded by ESF and foresees support to approximately 6 200 young people.

How the project will work

Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will invite young people to participate in self-assessment of entrepreneurial attitudes, through an online test, available through the web portal WIRE provided by Unioncamere. Most of the selection process will be managed through digital and telematics supports available on web portals, and will include self-evaluation criteria about the candidate’s motivation for self-employment and possession of required key competences.

Based on self-assessment test results, participants will be selected and directed to the particular chamber of commerce, where they can register for training courses aiming to help them develop their business plan. These activities will take place from March to December 2016, with a maximum of 45 days for a total of 80 hours divided into:

  • 60 hours of basic educational activities in groups (also remotely via live streaming);
  • 20 hours of specialised individual technical assistance. All sectors of production of goods, provision of services and trade are available for individual business plan ideas: tourism, cultural and recreational services; personal services; ICT services; the environment; energy saving and renewable energy; business services; manufacturing and craft; associations and professional societies; and companies processing and marketing agricultural products.

Selection will be based on the quality of the business plans developed, with the best gaining access to financial resources through SELFIEmployment fund.