Entrepreneurship and foreign craftsmanship, to date more than 70,000 businesses have been opened by foreign emigrants in Rome. A number that according to Confartigianato Roma would allow “the floatation of Roman entrepreneurship”. This is therefore based on a substitution effect that would be able to fill the gaps left by the retreat of local businesses.
This is what emerges from the research conducted on a reality that has become increasingly evident in recent years. Foreign entrepreneurship is taking off quickly, with growth figures constantly increasing, just think that in 2011 there were 42,093 activities in the area. About 15 foreign companies open for every 100 registered, of these, 70% are sole proprietorships and the majority of them are of non-EU origin.
Type of activities and services provided
In Rome, the greatest concentration of foreign activities is found in the eastern area with a percentage of 47%, strangely the center has the lowest figure with almost 12%. The main community to undertake a commercial activity in the capital is that of Bangladesh, followed by the Romanian, Chinese, Egyptian and finally the Moroccan community. Each foreign community excels in a particular work sector unlike the other.
The wholesale and retail sector, for example, appears to be a prerogative of all nationalities but in particular of Bangladesh which also prefers sectors relating to rental, travel agencies and support services. In the building and construction sector the presence of entrepreneurs from Romania is prevalent. On the other hand, China and Egypt excel in the catering and accommodation services sector. “The businesses managed by foreign entrepreneurs often operate only for the benefit of their compatriots – explains Confartigianato – others are” on the market “, other times, still, they operate in a gray area, from which they leave when they learn to deal with the rules competition or when they clash with bureaucracy “.
The general picture of foreign entrepreneurs
Who is the foreign entrepreneur and what is his commercial profile is also told by a 2019 Censis survey conducted at national level and on which Confartigianato also bases its research. 60% of businesses run by citizens of immigrant origin have been in business for more than three years. The turnover in the last three years is stable and growing. 76% say they are completely (21%) or partially (55%) satisfied with the performance of their business. 12% of foreign entrepreneurs have little knowledge of the Italian language, 24% barely sufficient. In their free time, 45% exclusively attend other foreign citizens.
The main difficulties of the gap between foreigners and Italian bureaucracy
The services offered in the area to shorten the gap between migrants and information regarding the economic and bureaucratic aspects related to the start of a business, still play a marginal role. Only 8% of entrepreneurs started a business after attending training or qualification courses. 39% of aspiring foreign entrepreneurs make use of their savings derived from employee work, while 28% resort to loans obtained from friends and relatives; these “informal” financial methods are still very widespread.
“We are faced with the need, which cannot be postponed by now, to open a serious and structured confrontation with these new families of entrepreneurs and to support them in their needs – continues the Italian craft organization – filling the gaps that the institutions and actors present on the territory they have left up to now, getting lost in cultural difficulties, overlapping in the offer of services, little collaboration “.
Confartigianato Roma intervenes in this facilitation process, offering administrative, personal, credit services aimed at the target and strengthening the network of stakeholders potentially operating on the supply chain. “We have opened a” one stop shop “for immigrant entrepreneurs, concentrating in a single place, both physical and virtual, all the possible services they may need, summoning the forces of the territory who, like us, have taken act of a phenomenon that should not be opposed but supported, guided and, when borderline, channeled into the right tracks of legality, without neglecting also female entrepreneurship, to also support the processes of emancipation of women and give a concrete meaning to the word welcome “.
Finally Confartigianato concludes “This systemic modality of intervention must necessarily involve the third sector as well, presided over by our Social Promotion Agency, Ancos, led by the new President, Prof. Edoardo Schina. With Ancos we have activated various transversal projects, such as internships for the job placement of disadvantaged workers and the activation of an anti-usury counter aimed at providing immediate legal, fiscal and credit support to companies attacked by organized crime, especially those located in our Old Town”.