Overall, the number of companies founded in Italy has experienced a drop over the past decades. Currently, Italy counts some six million enterprises in the country. The sectors with the largest number of companies are wholesale and retail trade, construction, in addition to agriculture, fishery, and forestry. Regional overviews give a very interesting perspective on Italy's entrepreneurial scenario. Even though the South of Italy does not represent the country's financial core, the Southern regions and the major Islands (Sardinia and Sicily) are home to the largest number of enterprises as well some of the highest growth rates in the number of companies nationwide. Similarly, most of the Italian provinces with the highest growth rate of companies are located in the same regions. Caserta, in the Southern region of Campania, has the highest growth rate in number of enterprises in Italy, while Nuoro, in Sardinia, and Lecce, in Apulia, followed. The number of enterprises in Naples, also in Campania, grew at the same rate in 2020 as Milan, Italy's financial center.
The Italian start-up scene has developed significantly in the last years. In 2020, there were about three times more start-ups than in 2015, resulting in over 12,000 newly founded companies. When considering the major Italian cities, Milan, Rome, and Naples have the largest number of start-ups. In contrast to the general setup of companies in Italy, Italian start-ups are mainly located in the North, including many of the most valuable Italian start-ups. Other than Buzzoole in Napoli and Matipay in Bari, the other highly valued start-ups considered in the study are situated in Lombardy and Liguria. The most popular industry is by far the business services sector, which accounts for three quarters of all start-ups. Nevertheless, a recent survey has showed that the Italian working population involved in business start-ups is still very low. This might be an indicator that the start-up ground in Italy is still premature, likely related to the high cost, complicated regulatory environment, and time intensive process of starting a company, all factors which can be hostile to founding a start-up.