The ecosystem of startups in brescia

The ecosystem of startups in brescia


The origins of Brescian entrepreneurship

The business to business culture and the massive presence of automotive supplies are two of those traits that make Brescia’s industrial system homogeneous. The history and international image of the latter is decidedly linked to the steel industry that has shaped the territory.

Even today there are two plants, Alfa and Ori Martin, practically in the city that recover the heat generated by the water that cools the molten steel and use it to heat homes. But the culture of iron has also undergone a transformation on the tradition-innovation axis and if the dimensions have “moved” towards Taranto, Piombino and Trieste, the Brescian iron and steel industry has been able to re-specialise. To build plants based on electric furnaces and the ability to recycle scrap.

At Feralpi, the carcass of the Costa Concordia was recycled in a week and transformed into billets for the building industry. The numbers tell, then, of a car components sector second only to the Turin area in terms of number of companies (250) and employees (18,000). Districts, like cats, demonstrate that they have seven lives and are another trait d’union of Brescia’s entrepreneurial culture. Famous in the world is that of the weapons of Val Trompia, where Beretta is preparing to celebrate even 500 years of activity, from when it began to produce gun barrels for the Serenissima.

Start ups in Brescia

There are almost 15 thousand innovative startups in Italy, about 300 of which are based in the province of Brescia.

According to the data of 1 July 2022, contained in the report on the second quarter of 2022 published by the Ministry of Economic Development, Unioncamere, InfoCamere and Mediocredito Centrale, there are around 15,000 companies registered in the Business Register, 3.7% of all newly established capitals: software manufacturing, IT consulting, research and development, machinery manufacturing and electronic products are the most popular businesses. The number of startups grew by 1.8% compared to the previous quarter. Those founded by under 35s are also on the rise.

26.7% of these companies are located in Lombardy, 12.1% in Lazio (+ 45 startups compared to the previous quarter) and 9.2% in Campania (+ 33). They are mainly found in the provinces of Milan (2737 startups), Rome (1599), Naples (675), Turin (532), Bari (362), Bologna (358), Padua (331), Salerno (302), Bergamo (291 ) and Brescia (286).

Considering the number of innovative startups in relation to that of new companies, the top ten provinces are Trento, Milan, Terni, Potenza, Udine, Pordenone, Pisa, Trieste, Bologna and Ascoli Piceno, with Brescia largely out of the top ten.

On the other hand, there are 6,798 companies benefiting from the Guarantee Fund (Fgpmi), with some having received more than one loan. In the second quarter of 2022, the Fund managed 666 transactions (+7% compared to January-March 2022), for a total of 193 million euros (+44%). The loan, according to the most recent data, amounts to 289 thousand euros, (+34% compared to the previous quarter). On the other hand, there are 103 operations of the Fgpmi for the benefit of certified incubators, for a total of 47 million euros. While for innovative SMEs there are 6,163, for a sum of 2 billion euros.

The reason why there is a decidedly lower number of innovative startups in Brescia than in other Italian provinces, also in the light of a territory rich from an entrepreneurial point of view, can be attributed to the lack of an adequate context.

Even with a service or product proposal that can be considered global (therefore towards an international audience that can also be reached via digital channels), in order for a startup to be born and scale, it needs a community of mentors, technology and skills transfer hubs, incubators, accelerators, business angels, investors, entrepreneurs; elements that tend to concentrate where there is a “favorable climate”.

To create this “favorable climate” the Innovative Start-up Club was born in Confindustria Brescia, to which 35 companies have already joined.

The start-up club is a community organized by Confindustria Brescia to aggregate the innovative start-ups present in the province with the aim of bringing new skills in the field of innovation closer together. Bringing «senior» companies into relation with innovative start-ups also with a view to actions of technological contamination/transfer, constantly detecting trends and prospects in the R&D field in the province, bringing the needs/requests of mature companies into a system, on R&D activities, forging greater relationships with the world of innovation and strengthening the ability to make proposals on R&D topics.

Sectors for start-ups

As regards the distribution by business sector, 75.2% of innovative startups provide services to businesses: the main areas are,

  • software production and IT consultancy 37.9%;
  • research and development activities 14.2%;
  • information service activities 8.6%.;
  • 16.4% work instead in the manufacturing sector (manufacture of machinery 3%, production of computers and electronic and optical products 2.3%;), while 3.1% in commerce.

Funding for start-ups

Innovative startups are significantly supported by the Guarantee Fund for SMEs: from 2013 to the third quarter of 2021, the Fund authorized 11,788 operations for almost two billion euros, in favor of 6,074 startups. Once again Lombardy is first in the ranking of beneficiary companies. More than 660 million euros (3,348 transactions) came to companies in the area, almost three times as much as the second-ranked region, Emilia Romagna (230 million).