di Francesco Giuri and Tablet Community – pics Courtesy Ydword.com
Startuppers: Short Stories, Possibly with Happy Endings, from the New Business Generation
Superstars of the Worldwide Economy; the Most Funded and the Most Reviewed by Media today
If the yuppie generation of the eighties, with all its rampant intentions to run a sub-capitalism parallel to the pre-existing one, almost immediately turned out to be a memorable flop, in the nineties it seemed to employ more timid efforts and resources to support youth entrepreneurship and the start-up of micro-enterprise projects that were more structured but not always bureaucratically flexible and advantageous for those people who decided to change their position in an increasingly diverse and segmented labour market.
Almost immediately after came the internet, that promoted and implemented new strategies for a more democratic mass-access, with a worldwide platform that allowed people to self-build more independently and with a variety of know-how, offering e-learning solutions that guaranteed access to the knowledge and elements of entrepreneurial culture, based on the evidence of case histories and models that were already tested and economically operated.
The first examples of alternative and spontaneous entrepreneurship began to appear, from which emerged young managers, some with short periods of experience in general management or business management, who could create micro or medium companies which became or were sold to big brands because they lacked the appropriate strategies and resources for sustainability As a result of the introduction of new technologies and materials and alternative and environmentally sustainable strategies, together with further bureaucratic streamlining for access to new programs of public co-financing, the growth of increasingly specialized generations outside of their territories of origin and, not least, more effective processes inspired by an increasingly globalised sharing of good practices, multicultural and innovative platforms were created where ideas, thoughts and, not least, the "dreams" of every aspiring young new manager could offer new inspirational models that go far beyond simple personal economic satisfaction. TEDx, perhaps, is one of the first platforms from which a good idea, direct and indirect experiences, or visions, initially to the limits of utopia, can evolve into something unique and economically productive. Talent Garden, a student innovated project, now has branches in twelve countries and supports, by co-founding, funding, co-working and an annual business fair, all those now famous 3.0 talents who decide to launch new business models. It’s enough to imagine a possible new business, to change viewpoint and to bring in creative strategies that converge in a new business philosophy: Innovation.
So, let's start ... well, let's Start-Up in a youthful, exploration driven universe, that is much reviewed and funded at the moment: the startuppers, still unknown new business superstars, are among the most sought after on social media across the world, the most promising and financed by big names of the world economy, among the most discussed between media and off-line and among the guests in various business awards events, for simply imagining a multi-sustainable future that can play into the different categories of the social marketplace . "But, a single start-up may not be enough ....," Explains Dr. Francesco Giuri, CTO of Puglia consulting group 'LWBProject', which is expert in community planning and continuing education and includes in its client portfolio and best practices organisations such as the Foundation for the South, Erasmus + Program, Europe for Citizens and Vodafone Foundation, to name but a few .
1) Dear dr. Giuri, thank you for officially opening this focus for us. So: “A start-up alone is not enough ...”, literally quoting one of your statements. Can you tell us more?
F.G. "The start-up system, even when it is surrounded by a playful and dreamy aura, is always a place of development of an “entrepreneurial idea”.
It is possible to become an entrepreneur but, with so much, much courage and self denial, sometimes, an innovative idea alone is not enough. To make the hit of the start up more remunerative, the young entrepreneurs must place themselves in front of an increasingly dynamic, international and interconnected market.
To the layman it seems as if the world of start-ups is purely an ecosystem inspired by the development of 'dreams', but it's quite the opposite. A world where you can realize some ideas, however, has the objective need to be, in the first instance, financially valuable and productive. It is sad to admit but, in Italy, only one in ten start up ideas becomes a concrete. productive company. This is not because they lack inspired visions but only because they are very often inconsistent with the market or do not meet a "need" or, in many cases, are not promoted by strong funders who put body and soul into bringing them into a real entrepreneurial level. For this reason, in recent years, structures have proliferated which, with great professionalism, have been able to identify the best ideas, finding the most profitable and developable within them, or those that would make their product a necessity for the common user. All these structures, which can be ‘incubators’ or ‘accelerators’, acting almost in educational, mode, are born to be associated with the startup, to accompany them in the delicate process from ‘ideas in progress’ to productive and competitive companies.
These structures, over the years, have, in fact, not only stimulated the development of the start-up eco system, but also helped to open the eyes of young startuppers and have brought them down to earth with the first goal to maintain, however, their enthusiasm and commitment a bit more than 3 meters above the sky. Everything starts with a simple deduction: when a young person finds the courage to expose their idea, building a prototype and presenting it to an expert team in the development business, they begin their adventure as a "selfish dreamer" conscious of their insight, but, at the same time, unable to find the right business funding to realize their idea. They have no real awareness of the need to promote, to sell, to distribute their products and, above all, of how many skills are necessary for the development of their own business. Young people speak of ideas, but the economic world, wants concrete planning and practicality, requiring numbers and development strategies.
It is not allowed, in a global socio-economic period like the one we are living through, to believe that “with an idea we will change the world “. The idea must be the spark for a “strategy that will change the world”, where strategy means that delicate balance between creativity, practicality and proportional growth that only the work of a well-organized team can actually produce.”
Maarten Van Aalderen, journalist and writer, a Dutch correspondent for De Telegraaf, already four times president of the Foreign Press Agency, proposes in his latest book, ‘Talents of Italy’, (Albeggi Publisher, Rome), a collection of 'productive Made in Italy re-discoveries'. ‘Talents of Italy’ is a review of brilliant and innovative ideas from young Italian entrepreneurs, written in simple and direct style. Positive examples are, however, placed in a broader context, in which the Dutch author interviews 21 talents from very different fields. In his 'Talents of Italy’ Van Aalderen offers his views about what could become inspiring and positively contagious entrepreneurial examples, stimulating many other new minds to use creativity and innovation to develop a potentially new productive idea. Tablet asked him, above all, to offer his important contribution as exceptional chronicler, particularly attentive to the development of productive activities In Italy and in other countries.
1) Mr. Van Aalderen, thank you for your important witness. In your latest publication, ‘Talents of Ita’ly, you highlighted some examples of where Italy could be particularly proud of ideas and strategies, despite its bad reputation abroad. What’s pushed you, exactly, to show another aspect of the Italian productive and cultural system? Why was there so much need to write and publish your latest work?
M.V.A. “I believe that, in a moment in which we complain about the so-called 'brain drain' and the problems that young people face as they grow up in Italy, it is important to give space to those who, instead, are able to establish good businesses that work and that also gain success overseas while remaining to live in Italy”.
2) ‘Talents’, plural, is the first word in the title of your latest work. Why does talent play a relevant role when starting any business project? Is it not enough, simply, to have that famous nose for business?
M.V.A. “The 21 people interviewed are talents in completely different fields, not only in the world of innovation, technology and business. What they have in common is that they manage to develop, to make their way in life. About the word Talent; we do not have to think of someone who, from birth, has perfect skills and genius. On the contrary, from the interviews, we perceive that many of the talents had to face and to solve problems. But, in the end, their own tenacity and determination prevailed”.
3) You love Italy very much and , with her, all those innovative politics which emerge from many others, but which are definitely wrong. If you had to choose one of the talented ideas collected in your book, which one would be the case-history that has impressed you most?
M.V.A. From the talents that I interviewed, which have successfully innovated in enterprises, there are very interesting stories in Sicily, with Mosaicoon, in Puglia, with Nextome, in Rome with Solenica and in Romagna with Italdron.
4) Innovation... Does it really exist in any production strategy? How do you recognize it? Many other innovative ideas, in the end, for one reason or another, have failed and not only in Italy. Were they perhaps too advanced?
M.V.A. “It is theoretically possible, but in my book I deal with innovations which have earned success and international recognition”.
5) You are a foreign professional journalist who has decided to explore other countries. In our survey of the best of Italy we discovered, within some departments of different regions such as Puglia, just to name one, departments for the internationalisation of SME’s. In the United Kingdom, or other countries, for example, these do not exist within local government. How important to Maarten Van Aalderen is that famous internationalisation of innovative business and creative ideas, especially in a moment that is challenging and not always encouraging, such as the one we are now experiencing?
M.V.A. “It seems to be clear that it’s fundamental”.
6) If you could advise young, talented and creative people who want to start other business ideas and encourage them to consider their own ideas as reproducible in other countries, what would you tell them considering the present European situation: “Europe: a real nightmare or, still, a possible dream?”
M.V.A. “My book shows that the can succeed not only in Europe but also, despite several problems, in Italy. All the talents I interviewed, in the end, showed attachment to their own country.”
The engineer, Mariarita Costanza, CTO of Macnil/Zucchetti group (a giant multinational software house), a television personality on several channels, one of the former judges in 'Shark Tank', from Mediaset, Italy, tells the story of her business which, from being a start up, is, today, a company that is a model of success. She is now launching 'Murgia Valley', a Made in the South project for start-ups, including international ones, spread throughout the territory of Gravina in Puglia.
1) Mariarita, thanks for contributing again to our community magazine. In 'Shark Tank', on Italia, Mediaset, your task was to recognize elements of a business idea that are worthy to be co-financed or, in some cases, totally financed. Yet, in many cases, a lot of good business ideas were rejected, even though some of them have subsequently were carried out successfully. Who really made the main mistake?
M.C. “It's a pleasure for me to help and give support to your magazine, with the hope that it will help to achieve a widespread culture of enterprise and of "get yourself busy", regardless of the geographical area in which you live, without waiting for someone else to think about it. Let's get back now to Shark Tank. Strange, but true, that was for me an absolutely formative experience. Listening to innovative ideas from many young people, with their dreams, their ambitions and passions, was for me a confirmation that it is not only important to have a good idea. There have been several good ideas, even in areas with a large market, however, unfortunately, the team that presented the idea lacked those values that make a real difference, that passion, that predisposition for risk, that "I believe in what I do"; these are all values that lead a startupper (to use what is a fashionable word today!) to plunge headlong into their own business, looking ahead, falling and getting up and, each time, being more fortified.
There have been some with these features. We've invested in these startups and we are now giving support to their business, with excellent results”.
2) How can we know that the people who decide what are the business ideas of the future are “reliable” and “credible”?
M.C. “Surely, credibility and reliability come from experience and concreteness: only those who have achieved something important, who know the dynamics of the market because they have been in the market for long time and constantly studied it, are able to understand the trends and, especially, to anticipate what the market needs. The important note is that today we are witnessing changes and evolutions at the ‘speed of light’, so it is important to have a strong predisposition to change, but also a quickness in managing change, otherwise you risk being left behind, then out of business.”
3) Could you indicate at least two sectors that are not yet too overworked in a potential market that is always looking for innovative ideas and projects?
M.C. “The areas of greatest interest which, in my opinion are worth investing in, are the ones that put the person at the center and make possible an improvement in their quality of life. I refer to areas such as security - imagine a personal safety system in your car, at home, on foot; or. in an area such as health - imagine a telemedicine system that allow patients to live more ‘smart’, or smart city systems that enable citizens to live their life more peacefully in the city.
In all cases, as you see, there is always the digital element, which, today, cannot be left out”.
Staying on the subject of creativity and talent in business 3.0, in Italy, with several branches abroad, Talent Garden is perhaps one of the biggest landmarks where ideas, innovation and business find (it’s true to say) a fertile ground for real and effective development for all young (and not so young) entrepreneurs who decide to be at the forefront with another way of making business.
Testifying to the importance of "Talent Garden" is dr. Davide Dattoli, founder and CEO of Europe’s largest physical platform for digital talents.
1) Dr. Dattoli, thanks you for this important participation. So, Talent Garden, why did the start-ups have so much need of it and not just in Italy, apparently? Was TEDx not enough?
D.D. “Talent Garden was born from a precise idea: to create a network of workspaces that integrate complementary services such as event space, training and networking opportunities. This combination of elements is the real added value of our project which is realized in the formation of a more extensive network that welcomes top talents into the digital sector. At the moment 18 Talent Garden campuses are operative in 6 European countries: we aim, therefore, to internationalise and export our model into all those cities where there is strong turmoil regarding innovation."
2) Talent Garden counts on a very experienced staff to identify that famous 'creative talent' so much spoken about but not always easy to recognize. Who can participate in Talent Garden and why should a start up be there?
D.D. " Talent Garden is a ‘vertical’ model: professionals, startups, freelancers and large companies working in the digital field can enter our network. Innovation and new technologies are our daily bread. This focus allows a profitable collaboration between the inhabitants of our campus, who often start together to found new projects or to collaborate on individual activities. This is the same principle that drives our partners (Cisco, Eni, IntesaSanPaolo, Mediolanum, just to name a few) to enter physically into our spaces and to integrate themselves with our talents."
3) A nag called Brexit is negatively impacting in an area in which numerous creative talents, coming from every part of Europe, have found a good second support base in a market recognized as global as possible. We are talking about London. What is the experience of Talent Garden in that area? Will it really be still worth betting on the UK?
D.D. "Talent Garden has never looked at London as a possible market. Our strategy is focused on opening new campuses in secondary markets which are closest to our own Italian ecosystem. In fact, these are the most interesting areas for us because they offer, as well, a greater competitive advantage."
In our exploration of some of the particularly interesting new business talents, members of our BigTeam, directly participated in a ‘Young enterpreneurs' Lab project one of the most challenging Erasmus+ experiences, funded by the European Union, through which got in touch with several startuppers:
All this, exclusively for Tablet2.0
Alexandrina Bivol, 23, Berlin, co-founder of ‘Alletre’, a cognitive motivational blog.
From her experience of psycho-emotional personal difficulty, Alexandrina decided to share her experience with other people on the web, telling their stories and her own through a sophisticated audio/video format, post produced by her sister, a professional videomaker and visualizer, experiences which somehow became a complete model of self-therapy, self-managed and, for this reason, particularly effective.
Monika Boshkova, 21, from Moldavia, founder of the International lifestyle and travel blog ‘Ydword.com’.
Following her half-year Erasmus experience in Business and Economy in Australia, combined with her passion for travel, lifestyles and contemporary trends and coming into contact with new countries, cultures, and traditions, Monika returned to her native land to create a blog, Ydeword, in which she shares these elements between the two hemispheres. A perfect mixture of lifestyle items and cool stories written in English, the site has attracted attention from various brands and tourist destinations; it is totally unmissable and to be shared at 3.0 full speed.
Madalina Condrea, 26, is the founder and CTO of ‘Autorizatifirme’, a portal to facilitate the acquisition of licenses for the opening of commercial and business activities in Romania.
Only solid preparation and strong motivation could infuse the right amount of courage, entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to create her own commercial and innovative business model. This is the core mission of the facilitation services which Madalina has decided to offer to all those new, talented entrepreneurs and traders in her homeland who have decided to revive the fortunes of an area in which bureaucracy and business start-up practices may be even tortuous and discouraging. For the simplicity of its communication and its effectiveness in suggesting new business models, ‘Autorizatifirme’, has become the new generation benchmark for digital business in Romania.
Giuseppe Lorusso, 33 years, from Gravina in Puglia, Italy, having personally experienced as a the patient with toothache, carelessness and poor NHS practice, during his visit to another Italian city, realised how many other fellow citizens incur similar problems every day. Resolved without even knowing how his problem, that, at that time, seemed almost insurmountable, is inherent to the National Health Service, and not only in his own country, which, before being a ‘business’, must firstly pay attention to its primary social mission
From this came one thought: each citizen, in Italy, pays one of Europe's highest rates of taxation and as such, has the right to choose and possibly review, the best treatment and result obtained, wherever he is, on the basis of his rights as a taxpayer. From these simple but fundamental considerations which place the individual at the heart of any motivation to contribute, together with his business partner, Joseph Angelo Marvulli, 34 years,developed ‘Choosing Health’, an online enterprise to monitor, indicate, suggest and, above all, to accept reviews and comments from each user after any health care service, in hospitals that undertake surgery , complex structures and from medical professionals and specialists. This was a totally digital and social idea which led Choose Health to realize an important partnership with Health Italy; a success born from a toothache, a city at that time a little careless and the belief that people in general, especially when it comes to National Health care, cannot and must not be only numbers.
Carlo Sciuto, Catania, Sicily, Italy, Business Development Manager of "Smart Park", together with two other partners, created a smart city solutions company from a consideration of something that is actually pretty obvious: in Italy, urban mobility has led to an imbalance which has an important environmental impact, a bad living conditions and traffic chaos in an alarming levels of unsustainable proportions. Smart Park offers smart solutions linked to that famous philosophy of the internet of things, creating software to solve the parking problem in cities, picking up a major challenge: helping, with the design and implementation of dedicated software using all the best technology, to build a much better city life, allowing citizens to save valuable time by avoiding stressful situations, reducing pollution and traffic congestion in order to create positive effects in terms of quality of life, for the benefit of a community that is much more civilized and organized. This start-up has been particularly appreciated and rewarded in several international contests, precisely because it is multi mission oriented and is particularly attentive and projected into the future, now present, of the easy city living philosophy.
We conclude, our focus in which we have chosen to review some innovative realities, scattered in various areas but in a decidedly viral way, in which many other new ideas tare tracking new business models that are more and more open to co-working and to sharing best practices. We promise Tablet Community Magazine, meanwhile, will continue to speak of others like them.