This paper presents an empirical analysis of the determinants of the growth of 510 Italian NTBF during the time span 1990-2001. Firstly, it considers the relation among growth, size and age of firms. Secondly, it focuses on the role that human capital of founders and selective public funds play in determining firm growth addressing the consequences of potential endogeneity of public subsides to human capital of founders. Results show that smaller firms grow quickly. Contrary to common evidence, age impact positively on firm growth; industry-specific characteristics can explain this result. Firm growth is also influenced by those characteristics of founders related to their "vocational" attitude, as proxied by the academical choice, and to their inter-industry work experience. Once correcting for potential endogeneity of public subsides, we demonstrate that they do not favor the growth of NTBFs. There is evidence of self-selection on the access to public subsides by the most capable founders.
Jel Code: C31, H25, J24, L25, L26