If you want to found a startup while enjoying risotto or taking in the best the fashion world has to offer, look no further. Italy has a special Startup Visa program that budding innovators can apply to.
Started in June of last year, Italy’s startup visa is specifically for non-Europeans with innovative business ideas. The program was recently expanded to allow students studying abroad in Italy the chance to stay in the country to found a business. Applicants can apply directly to Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development or be fast-tracked through backing by a certified Italian startup incubator.
With the Mediterranean country’s GDP consistently declining throughout 2014, the Italian government has been looking for new ways spur economic growth. Led by Italy’s youngest prime minister ever, Matteo Renzi, the government hopes that these new startups will stay in Italy and become an economic driver.
The Italian government is aware that luring new businesses is a competitive landscape. The U.K., Ireland, Canada, The Netherlands, and Spain all have some special visa category for entrepreneurs. However, the Italian visa program is the easiest to qualify for, requiring only 50,000 euros of funding from an angel investor. The ministry is also playing up Italy’s reputation for excellence in food, fashion, and tourism, as well as its cultural heritage and SME manufacturing base as advantages for startup founders.