Foreign companies and investors in Italy show no sign of stopping their growth, even when the country faced its most important economic crisis. Between 2010 and 2018, foreign entrepreneurs, clearly seeing what the country had to offer to their companies, increased by 31.7%. This is what emerges from a CENSIS research The map of immigrant entrepreneurship in Italy, a joint effort with the Roma Tre University.

In Italy there are 447,422 business owners born abroad, representing 14.6% of the country’s entrepreneurs. Young entrepreneurs, in particular, are overrepresented among foreign ones given that 71.6% of them are under 50 years old, a stark contrast with their Italian counterparts. 146,905 foreigners operate in retail and 25,901 are active in the restaurant industry, but the biggest sector for foreign entrepreneurs is the construction one with 114,322 owing a business operating in it. Among the most represented nationalities, there are Moroccan (64,690), Chinese (50,899), Romanian (47,964) and Albanian (31,425) entrepreneurs. The first two concern themselves mainly with retail commerce, textile, and food industries, while Romanians and Albanians companies dominate the construction business.

Quite obviously, the biggest and most populous regions are the ones with more foreign entrepreneurs. Lombardy is at the top counting 81,355 of them, Lazio (53,829) and Tuscany (43,832) are in second and third position but the latter, if we consider the percentage of foreigners over the total amount of business owners per region, is in the first place. Rome leads the provinces’ ranking, with 45,511 foreign entrepreneurs, followed by Milan (36,489) and Turin (20,692). However, Prato ranks first in terms of incidence, given that 46.9% of business owners there were born abroad, followed by Milan (29.3%), Florence (26.9%) and Rome (26.2%).

Foreign companies are also deeply rooted in the Italian industrial sector, given that 60% of them are in business for three years or longer. They are not only deeply integrated but also quite profitable as for 53% of them, revenue was stable over the last three years and for 20% it was actually growing; in addition to this 76% declared themselves completely (21%) or partly (55%) satisfied with the performance of their business.

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Source: CENSIS