Invitalia has been called to find measures to handle the health and economic crisis that hit Italy following the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Agency and its leaders have been playing a key role since the beginning of the crisis to support both citizens and businesses during the phases of containment of and coexistence with the virus.
Domenico Arcuri, Special Commissioner for the COVID Emergency
On March 18, 2020, Domenico Arcuri was appointed by the Italian Government as the Special Commissioner for the COVID Emergency, with the mandate to coordinate the pandemic control measures. The Commissioner was entrusted with key functions to overcome the crisis and protect national interests; this includes the supplying and distribution of medicines, equipment and medical/personal protection devices; the improvement of hospital facilities, especially intensive and sub-intensive care units; the protection and enhancement of supply chains for goods necessary to fight the crisis; the coordinated management of the EU Solidarity Fund and of the resources of the Development and Cohesion Fund to address the crisis.
Invitalia has responded to the healthcare emergency also by taking actions in the manufacturing field. When the crisis was at its worst, the country urgently needed a huge supply of protection devices to contain the virus spread, especially face masks. Therefore, it was necessary to boost domestic production in order to reduce reliance on imports and ensure continued availability over a long period of time. #Curaitalia (Cure Italy) Incentives started on March 26, 2020, with a budget of 50 million euros, and involved businesses – from North to South of Italy – that were ready to expand and retool their plants and could benefit from subsidized loans – which could be converted into straight (non-repayable) grants based on the timing of investments.
The “Impresa Sicura” call
Invitalia’s “Impresa Sicura (Safe Enterprise)” initiative, included in the Cura Italia decree and started on May 11, 2020, is a means to reimburse companies that have purchased protection devices in order to ensure a safe continuity of their manufacturing processes. With a 50-million-euro budget (through resources of the workplace injury insurance agency, INAIL), Invitalia reimbursed up to 100% of the costs incurred by companies to buy the necessary goods for their staff’s healthcare safety: masks, gloves, eye protections, overalls, sanitizers, thermometers, etc.
Suspension of mortgages
In order to help entrepreneurs through the difficult first months of the COVID crisis, Invitalia declared a moratorium on mortgage payments for qualifying companies, in agreement with the Italian Ministry for Economic Development and the Ministry of Labour, and consistently with the provisions of the Cura Italia decree. This initiative is addressed to the SMEs that qualified to obtain Invitalia’s incentives and could request a suspension of payments through a deferral of the repayment plan.
In order to give credit and support to businesses and professionals, Invitalia took action through its controlled bank Mediocredito Centrale (MCC), which manages the Guarantee Fund. This fund was enhanced by the “Restore Liquidity” decree, and the new provisions include an automatic 100% coverage in case of financings up to 30,000 euros, for a maximum period of 10 years; moreover, the list of beneficiaries has been extended to insurance agents and sub-agents, religious organizations and third sector.