Panel dataset of microenterprises in the province of Trento

Microenterprises play an important role in the Italian economy, both regionally and nationally, as they account for the vast majority of Italian enterprises: 93.3 per cent and 94.5 per cent of total enterprises in Trentino and Italy, respectively. By the same token, these businesses employ 46.2% of the total number of employees in Trentino and 47.9% in Italy. Nevertheless, only a few surveys describe such a population in detail.


The project

To fill this gap, FBK-IRVAPP and the Statistical Office of the Province of Trento have established a longitudinal survey on microenterprises in Trentino. The survey is representative of the total population of microenterprises and was conducted for the first time in 2010, repeated in 2011 and, since then, has been carried out every two years. The sample is stratified by sector, employees and firm age and consists, on average, of 2000 units with a response rate ranging from 75 to 85 per cent depending on the wave.

The data covers a wide range of areas of interest, such as employees, investments, operating costs, enterprises’ financial situation, the market of reference and competition, public subsidies, expectations and economic growth, relationships with third subjects, risk aversion, and ICTs adoption. In addition, the survey also includes some questions on the entrepreneur’s history (age, education, previous experiences, ownership of the firm, and motivations for being an entrepreneur).

Some topics remain constant throughout the waves, but there are special issues that are wave-specific. For example, in 2021, part of the survey focused on strategies undertaken by microenterprises to cope with the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the take-up of public policy measures.


Key takeaways

Panel 2019 (year 2018) – The relationship network of micro-enterprises in Trentino

  • Internal relation:
    • Strong family members’ involvement in strategic business decisions: more than 68% of owners say that family members influence business decisions (all sectors).
  • External relations:
    • Customers: most micro-enterprises operate in the local market (86% of customers are located in the province). This is especially true for the other services and the construction sectors.
    • Transport and trade, on the other hand, are the sectors with the largest share of customers in the Italian regions and abroad (33% and 17.2%, respectively).
    • Suppliers: transport and logistics show a greater propensity to have a wider network of relationships than manufacturing, followed by construction (mainly with contract and subcontracting relationships).
    • Companies with broader relationship networks have a greater propensity to activate new channels, especially those that enable them to obtain information on news in their sector.
    • The propensity to expand their relationships is higher for micro-enterprises that invest more and are more digitised.
    • 65% of micro-enterprises in Trentino have no employees, and company size is inversely related to the propensity to network size.
Date: Since 2010