Invitalia opened the submission of the applications for the Women’s Business Fund (Fondo Impresa Donna) measures, which can be filled out and submitted on the online platform provided by the latter and active from the following dates:

  • from May 19 for the new women’s businesses (opening for applications’ filling out on May 5, 2022)
  • from June 7 for the existing women’s businesses (opening for applications’ filling out on May 24, 2022).

The platform will be working only on business days, Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In order to submit the application, applicants will be required to have  digital identification with SPID, Electronic Identity Card (CIE) or National Services Card (CNS), and once the filling-out is completed , the application must be digitally signed (hence, a digital signature and a Certified Electronic Mail will  be required) by the legal representative of the applicant company, the self-employed woman, or the person acting on behalf of the company[1] being incorporated.

The filling out will be finalized with the issuance of the “application code,” which must then be entered to submit the application. It should be noted that the submission of the application cannot be delegated to individuals who do not fall into the above-mentioned categories.

There is no cut-off date for the platform, which will remain open until the resources are exhausted.

After the submission of the application the control consists of two steps:

  • an analysis of the information of the application and annexes aimed at an in-depth examination of all the aspects described in the business plan, and
  • an assessment interview with the applicant women’s business.

The applications will be evaluated within 60 days from submission, without prejudice to the longer deadlines resulting from the possible notice of the obstructive reasons referred to in Article 10-bis of Law No. 241 dated August 7, 1990, as well as the suspension of the deadlines in case of in-depth investigations pursuant to Article 15, paragraph 7, of the Decree of September 30, 2021.

In fact, if deficiencies or critical issues arise during the analysis (for example: the application does not meet all the access requirements or the scores assigned for the individual evaluation criteria are not sufficient to make it eligible) Invitalia will notify the reasons that prevent the acceptance of the application and the evaluation time will be suspended in light of the request for clarifications or additions necessary with respect to the data and documents sent (notice of the obstructive reasons) until the receipt of the additional documentation requested. The applicant will have the opportunity to respond within 10 days with written counterarguments, which will involve additional documents. If the information provided allows the issues to be overcome, Invitalia will send the positive outcome notice. Otherwise, it will communicate the ineligibility of the application.

After the decision to grant the incentives is issued, the women’s business will be able to apply for the disbursement of the incentives, which will be paid by Invitalia within 30 days from the date of submission of the application or from the date of any additions required after review of the documentation to verify the expenses incurred.

Disbursement will be based on the implementation of the expenses plan by submitting the State of Work Progress (maximum two).

The first State of Work Progress can be submitted for between 40 % and 80 % of the expenses

The second Statement of Work Progress must be submitted at the conclusion of the expenses program, by submitting the documentation corresponding to the final payment.

The women’s business will also have the option to request an advance payment equal to 20 % of the total amount of the incentives, released from the progress of the expenses program, within 6 months from issuance of the decision to grant the incentives, by submitting a bank or insurance guarantee in an amount equal to the request and documentation on  availability of the headquarters’ spaces. This amount will be disbursed within 20 days from the request. The application for the advance payment must be prepared on the basis of the forms that will be made available at www.invitalia.

The women’s business requirement must be maintained for 3 years from the date of disbursement of the incentive. The loss of such requirement before the 3 year term will result in the revoking of the incentives.

Invitalia has also published the latest details, news and insights regarding the Women’s Business Fund at the following link https://www.invitalia.it/cosa-facciamo/creiamo-nuove-aziende/fondo-impresa-femminile/faq.

In any case, it will be necessary that, in applications of the Do No Significant Harm (DNSH) principle, which stipulates that the interventions provided for by the national RRP do not cause any significant harm to the environment, the activities to which the expenses subject to the contribution refer are not among the activities contemplated in Annex V Section B of Regulation (EU) 2021/523 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the InvestEU program and amending Regulation (EU) 2015/1017.

The FAQ also specifies in detail all eligible expenses under the Interministerial Decree of September 30, 2021.

[1] The same natural person will then have to appear within the structure of the future company as legal representative, contact person or shareholder. In the event that the project is accepted for subsidies, the proponents will have to establish the company and will have 60 days from the notice of positive outcome to send the documents proving the establishment of the company or the opening of the VAT number in the case of freelance activities.