How to start a business in Italy? Steps and options

Italy’s market is an interesting place where to start a business. As it has the 3rd  largest economy in Europe and the 8th  in the World. Moreover, its strategic position, from a geographical standpoint, facilitates trade between Northen Europe, Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, making Italy a wonderful place for one to expand or start an international business. If you are wondering if you can start a business in Italy, we suggest you consider the steps below as they may be helpful.

start a business in ItalyPrepare your business plan

To start a business in Italy, is important to define your activity. What is your business about? What kind of structure and mission does it have? If you, your business model and your goals line up with the Italian’s, let’s get into it!

Define the type of business you want to set up

Italy offers different options to start your business. It is necessary to identify the existing category your business will fall under. This depen upon its size, function and budget.

Choose the type of company

To set up your business, it is necessary to define the type of company that is the best fit for your needs.

Limited liability companies

S.R.L. And S.R.L.S. are the most common types of limited liability companies in Italy and they allow for the highest level of flexibility for the founder(s).


Founders (or some of them) have unlimited liability towards creditors and need to use their personal assets to pay the debts and obligations of the company.

Benefit corporations

They are “for-profit” companies that, at the same time, achieve one or more beneficial purposes.

Sole proprietorships

These are the easiest and fastest way to start a small business in Italy.  The owner is the only one responsible for the enterprise.

Innovative start-up company

These are companies whose core business consists of the development, production and commercialization of innovative goods or services of high technological value.

Other entities


They are foreign “units” of the mother company. They are not a separate legal entity and are considered permanent establishments subject to taxation in Italy.

Representative offices

They are fixed places for promotional, advertising activities, collection of information, scientific or market research.

Discover more on all the types of companies you can set up in Italy.

Check your permit requirements

To  open a  business  in  Italy  as  a  foreigner,  you  should  know  that  there  are  no  specific limitations  regarding  most  nationalities,  when  it  comes  to  opening  a  company  in  Italy. Director/Shareholder do not need to have Italian residency, supplying an ID or vaild passport is sufficient.

However, if you are planning to move to manage your business locally, do not forget to obtain a legal permit to live and work in Italy. Discover more on our immigration services.

Understand the time frame

How long does it take to register a company in Italy? The time frame for a foreigner to set up a company (including obtaining VAT and opening a bank account) is approximately 5-6 working days from the day in which we start the incorporation procedure. The timeline may vary according to the type of business you need to set up.

Be aware of the challenges

Bureaucracy, despite what is said about its complexity, can be easly overcome by good preparation, clear ideas and a professional support. The best way to set up your business smoothly is to rely on local support.

Ask for local professional support

Our team of lawyers provides legal assistance for setting up a business in Italy and many other related services. You can benefit from having a single provider for all the diverse needs of your company, from setting up a business to tax, accounting, payroll and immigration services. Contact us.

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