Research into start-up businesses attempts to shed light on the most favourable characteristics of a location for manufacturing organisations.


“Thinking” up a business, establishing it and helping it grow are major undertakings. Ideas and resources (primarily human resources) are needed to ensure that everything works. The environment also counts: the strange and complex combination of location, people, social ties, limits and opportunities, institutions and culture can contribute to supporting the first steps taken by a young business.

It is essential to understand which locations can help businesses get the best start. “Fertile places for innovation. A study of the localisation of innovative start-ups in Italy” is an interesting paper written by Roberto Antonietti and Francesca Gambarotto of the Department of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of Padua. The study, which was recently published in Economia e Società Regionale, is based on two observations. The first point the authors considered was what start-up means: “A fundamental tool for transforming knowledge into new and innovative products/services”. Then there was the observation that it was only a few years ago our country “intervened to support setting up innovative, new businesses, but little importance is given to the environmental aspects that facilitate this creative process”.

The scope of the research is, therefore, to understand which locations are the “best”, the most “fertile” for forming new companies.

The study used Unioncamere’s register of innovative start-ups and ISTAT’s local labour systems.  The mass of data generated an analysis of the territorial distribution of start-ups to gain an understanding of the factors that have the greatest influence on the establishment and localisation of a new business. By cross-referencing the information, Antonietti and Gambarotto proved that medium-large size urban centres are the most fertile habitats for supporting the emergence of innovative start-ups owing to their varied economies, the presence of key players like universities and incubators, and their economic performance that is open to international markets. It is not a foregone conclusion and, most importantly, the result is backed by numbers, which raises the question: how can we increase the capacity to host new businesses in other territorial environments as well?



Fertile places for innovation. A study of the localisation of innovative start-ups in Italy

Roberto Antonietti, Francesca Gambarotto

Economia e Società Regionale, 2018, Dossier 3