The odyssey of the companies


Starting up a company in Italy is a real effort. You need a super-human will and a certain propensity to masochism. That’s explained in the report of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation called “Doing Business in 2006: Creating jobs”.

The report compares the different countries for starting up and closing down a company, getting licences, taking on personnel, paying taxes, registering ownership, access to credit, legal proceedings and protecting investors. In 2005, Italy was in 70th position. Before Italy there was Panama, the Solomon Islands, the Tonga islands, Colombia and Mongolia.

In these countries, life is easier than it is here for those who want to invest their own money in an activity and create jobs.
A legal action brought by a company to get its rights respected, in Italy takes on average 1,390 days. In the world the only country to beat that is Guatemala. But what will it have that’s less than us? To import goods you need an average of 16 documents, 10 signatures and 38 days.

But, even in these conditions of ”extreme entrepreneurship” the Italians manage to start up businesses and keep them open, but not always. Italians abroad have success because they just have to do the work, without thinking about the bureaucracy. They start off already hardened by years of handicap.

Recount your odysseys in this post. We can share together the vexations and the acts of heroism.

PS The report in English can be downloaded for free.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 11:05 AM in | Comments (21)
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I agree with you Eva,

the chinese need a market. But from my perspective we are going to face a very tough decade.

China is growing strongly and its labour force is enormous, so for the the western production facilities it will be a blood-bath.

I am an engineer working in the Telecom, but to my son ( 15een ) I do recommend to get an education outside the production-industrial branch (matching his aspiration of course).

Here in Sweden all the time the media repeat that we have to work smarter better and with more flexibility in order to maintain the jobs inside the country.

It is not easy but the governement is focusing to improve the overall competence and with massive investment in R&D.We will see...

Posted by: gabriele | August 5, 2006 04:16 PM

edmondo go to australia,there is heaven!you can get your passport in one week at the post office,you just pay one off for 5 or 10 years,the same about drive licence,they send you a gently remind that the drive licence will expaire,just wonderfull,saqme for busness,the law of employes has chance recently,not in their favor,I think like the rest of the world things are getting tougher,to compete with china that have chip labor, is very hard,and I wonder, who are they going to sell all the stuff that are producing,if we wont't have job,and no wages to by it all?ciao

Posted by: evakulnurae | August 5, 2006 11:01 AM

I live in Canada where I opened a cafe'.
I've tried in Italy but I had to wait months just to get the papers done.
Guess how long did it take over here ?
ONE WEEK !!! In one Week we were ready.

But let's say something Guys ...
Canada is rated 4th, OK, but guess how many businesses survive after one year. 35% !!!

No way to get good workers, no way to have fair competition, no rules, no inspections, FREEDOM FOR EVERYBODY. You end up killing each others unless you have a strong portfolio covering your back.

Now, on the other hand, we sold the business and we are now employees. Here is the REAL CRAZY WORLD.
No unions (factories are willing to shut down rather then having troublemakers), no holiday pay, no insurance, no contracts signed, no paid sickness days, two weeks holiday per year (if you are lucky), no stable job, no way to get your italian diploma or certificates recognized, maybe some extra-coverage and benefits after one year.

Of course we are rated 4th, if you open a business here you'll have FREE HAND.
This is not fair neither.

There should be a compromise betweeen the Italian way and the Top Rated countries way to help businessmen and workers.

By the way, I do not consider these organizations reliable. These reports should include more other items and are usually manipulated by the Immigrants Services of the countries. Italy's one is not doing a good job.

Posted by: Edmondo D. | August 5, 2006 06:56 AM

To Robert Tuppini:
You are right 100% on what you said.
It's 12 years that I live in USA and I like it because bureocracy is less invasive.
Here, if you have an idea you can put it to work, make money, pay your taxes, period.
No stupid red tape, no stupid people in public offices that doesn't know shit, if you have a problem you can call the manager which will help you thru the process and in some cases they let you fill up a survey.
Sometimes I think about going back to Italy but then I tell myself: "whatever, maybe within 5 years" because I feel spoiled here and I don't want to go back to be aggravated by a couple of idiots that are there to piss you off behind their glass wall, just because some friend or relative put them there.
It would be good for a change to revise those rules in favor of a quicker system that revolves around people's needs and not the urge to feed the Burocracy Monster with paperwork just to have bullshit in change.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | August 5, 2006 02:19 AM

Hi Gabriele, yeah I agree, they should restructure the tax system. But I think it's really difficult to do a good job. The taxes are very high for the companies but the public debt is high as well so it's not easy to cut them down.
And for sure they should control that EVERYONE pay the taxes. The former PM had no interest in this control, on the contrary he approved the "condono fiscale". So I can evade now and hope in some "condono".
Is the left wing different?... we will see

Posted by: alex bettini | August 4, 2006 12:50 PM

If beppe would start a chat room on his blog,can you imagine,how many morons will attract?it could be interesting to have the like of remida e company,it should make a interesting reading,short phrase, to the point, I still do not understant if he is upset with beppe,with the italian government or the rest of the world,aniway god bless you remida you really need his help.

Posted by: evakulnurae | August 4, 2006 12:11 PM

Considering that remida is not a name you show cowardly that you are unfit to debate in a blog.

Posted by: gabriele | August 4, 2006 10:31 AM

I say fuck it!!!!!

Posted by: remida | August 4, 2006 12:21 AM


The clou is not who is the PM.

The clou is how people react to the evident unjustice that is continous consumed.

Look at how it has been managed the introduction of euro for instance..

I am pretty confident that restructuring the tax system creating transparent channels for monitoring the public money through local ( at commun level) offices which manage the largest part of the money it would be a good start...

I am not reinventing the wheel: look at Sweden we have high taxes, true, but with this system we get a lot back in terms of welfare and stimulation to the economy.

It is not perfect but is fair and works well.

Posted by: gabriele | August 3, 2006 09:25 PM

Hi Robert

I think Beppe's post has 2 topics:
1) Italian bureaucracy
2) Italians abroad "do it better"

I don't think the Italians abroad are working better due a nicer bureaucracy. That is what I tried to say in my last comment.

I lived in Italy 28 years and, like 90% of who reads this blog, I know in fact how dramatic is the Italian bureaucracy.


Posted by: Filippo Vitale | August 3, 2006 08:21 PM

Some years ago in Fruli, the region received a lot of money to rebuild the villages and towns destroyed by the earthquake. After ten years, when everything was rebuilded, the region decided to use the rest of the money to promote employment. The idea was to atract the italians abroad to come back to invest in the region. Conditions were interesting: An appartement for living and a workshop to work free...Well, the conditions were that you had to start to refound after 5 years if your company was still alive...During our holidays I went there with my uncle to start the formalities. After one week, we understood that it was better to forget it. Despite a very gentle man who was bring us from one office to another for a document or a stamp, we decided to stop. Everytime, the responsible was not in his office. One was out for a coffe, another was sick, another was busy somewhere, another was absent and so on. I suppose that in the south this things never happens (I mean this kind of ideas:-)

Posted by: blisco jaio | August 3, 2006 07:54 PM


You say:
“IMHO if an italian have success abroad is not for the "easier burocracy" but because they found motivated/correct colleagues/managers, honest customers/suppliers, .

I can only respond to this with one word. BULLSHIT !

I had a business in Australia and I can assure you the bureaucracy is almost non existent there AND the costs to set up a business are a lot lower. Everything from starting up a public or private company to renting premises, to the tax system is simpler.

I wanted to start up a business in Italy but it’s a BLOODY nightmare!!!!!!! There is everything in place to stop you. 5 million forms to fill out for “permessi” or other bureaucratic red tape crap., absolute idiots and dick heads who work in government offices or in “commune” who know absolutely SHIT about their work and wouldn’t help you if you were dying in front of them because they are so fucking lazy and ignorant!

And there isn’t just a problem trying to set up a business in Italy but it’s a problem with ANYTHING you want to do in Italy – open a bank account, get the phone connected, buy a kitchen, rent or buy a house., get the electricity connected Etc, Etc, Etc

Oh yes, and there is always someone there who you have to pay money to like the useless profession you have in Italy called “Notaio”.

Don't just justify Italian bureaucracy. Use facts and not just opinion to make comparisons with overseas.

And you might want to also compare the appalling and disgusting poor level of customer/client service Italian businesses provide – they make you feel that they are doing you a favour allowing you to buy their products or services! Arrogant pricks. Che Schiffo!

Posted by: Robert Tuppini | August 3, 2006 05:50 PM

...and I know quite a lot people that opened their conpany in the est of Europe or in China... It's easier, isn't it? the personell is cheaper and there are less taxes...

Posted by: alex bettini | August 3, 2006 05:27 PM

I have read all your comments... how much optimism! we all would better go to work abroad

@ Blisco. Naah, I disagree, I don't care about a stable job, but flexibility is good if there are enough propositions of job, otherwise you are only precarious
@ Gabriele. The people sleep? if so Berlusconi would be still the PM

Sorry, but I think that you all are only complaining, without a constructive critic. What do you propose to do?

Posted by: alex bettini | August 3, 2006 05:18 PM


I´m really concerned too.

Since the beginning of 90es, I have had the opportunity to travel often and regurarly to Italy. I cannot say a single positive word about these last 15en years.

While at least during the 80´ my perception was that somehow there was a pride, after clean hands in spite of the big efforts of Di Pietro and his collegues, the hope of a real change and of a society based on justice and on the work of the individuals totally disappeared.

The politicians are a ruling class "untouchable". The people only to celebrate the World cup and the country goes to the hell.

Posted by: gabriele | August 3, 2006 04:32 PM

Hey man, actually I live in Italy and this is what I see: tax evasion so widespread that only one part of the population, the employees, pay for the services they get. How is it possible that the brother of a former prime minister (guess who?) officialy books not more than 60k euros per year?? Try to do something like that in the US and tell me how many seconds does it take until you're thrown into a prison. I'm really worried about the future of this wonderful country.

Posted by: Harri Klein | August 3, 2006 03:30 PM

I'm italian.
I could be offended by the blisco's comment but honestly is not very far from the truth.
I could be offended by the Harri's comment but honestly is not very far from the truth.

When I was in Italy I worked as a contractor (with "Partita Iva") for 5 years and all the burocracy problems were fixed by my accountant ("Commercialista") with 1000 euro every year.

IMHO if an italian have success abroad is not for the "easier burocracy" but because they found motivated/correct colleagues/managers, honest customers/suppliers, ...

P.S. Not every italians that leave Italy have success

Posted by: Filippo Vitale | August 3, 2006 02:32 PM

Yes, Italian bureaucracy is horrible, and it's very difficult to start up, but many complaining entrepreneurs seem to forget a simple rule: starting up a company, or a businnes needs above all entrepreneurial abilities. Running a business is always risky, and this is the difference between an enterprise and subordinate jobs. Not anybody can do that. For example, I'm not suitable for the businnes world. I know that. My entrepreneurial abilities are non-existent, and because of this I prefere to sell my professional abilities and my knowledge.
To every man his due.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | August 3, 2006 02:04 PM

Just look at the list of the 30 EASIEST countries to do business in.

Italy comes in at number 70 just before Peru and Uganda at 71 & 72

I think it says it all

Top 30 economies on the ease of doing business
1 New Zealand
2 Singapore
3 United States
4 Canada
5 Norway
6 Australia
7 Hong Kong, China
8 Denmark
9 United Kingdom
10 Japan
11 Ireland
12 Iceland
13 Finland
14 Sweden
15 Lithuania
16 Estonia
17 Switzerland
18 Belgium
19 Germany
20 Thailand
21 Malaysia
22 Puerto Rico
23 Mauritius
24 Netherlands
25 Chile
26 Latvia
27 Korea
28 South Africa
29 Israel
30 Spain

Posted by: Robert Tuppini | August 3, 2006 01:43 PM

Maybe they're too busy while sailing in the storm, but our "beloved" enterpreneurs could also try to PAY the taxes instead of spending their life in moaning and complaining about them.

Posted by: Harri Klein | August 3, 2006 12:57 PM

The italians prefer to have a stable job in an administration or to have a shop and a small biz for their life. They play with the life like they play with a ball. For them is necessary to make goals only if they loose 1-0 :-)

Posted by: blisco jaio | August 3, 2006 12:39 PM

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