Collaboration with Italia Startup
At the beginning of our project – immediately after completing the development of the Bivo formula – we started looking for the ingredients we needed to make the product and the suppliers who could produce the first complete Italian food on our behalf. We did what many would have done: a first google search and then an avalanche of emails explaining that we were a start-up, our project, etc. etc. etc. Result? Zero answers.
But we did not lose heart, we said to each other: let’s try the old method of the telephone call to the switchboard … after the first step (maybe not just on the first try) we had a way to talk to the salesman or the secretary on duty. Usually the phone calls were quite standard but in all our conversations there was a common denominator: as soon as we used the expression “start-up” the interest of our interlocutor diminished and even the phone call ended after some other brief exchange of information.
At the beginning we did not understand that the problem was precisely the expression “start-up”, but then one day the explanation came to us, clear as the sun. “Our company is not interested in any relationship because we didn’t find you on the White Pages” … Le Pa-gi-ne-Bi-an-che (the old Italian “book” which collected all the phone numbers…a legacy concept from the nineties)!
From that day on we decided that we would define ourselves as a “small business based in Vicenza a few months ago” … At that point it was clear that the White Pages would have included our office number in the following year’s edition.
In Italy, unfortunately, companies think of start-ups as projects developed by kids who sketch an idea and try to see if it works. The State, on the other hand, even assesses whether you can define yourself as a start-up or not. Yes, in the country of bureaucracy, a sort of commission assesses whether or not you can boast of the title of “innovative startup” which are defined by law as “a company having as its corporate purpose the development, production and marketing of products or innovative services with high technological value “. After over three years of bureaucratic backlash we can now boast of this title and we can officially call ourselves an innovative startup.
Also due to the difficulties we encountered, once we reached the startup status, we decided to join Italia Startup, the non-profit association that represents, supports and gives voice to the Italian innovation ecosystem. It is an organization founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs, incubators, investors, startuppers, industrial corporations and companies that believe in relaunching Italy and creating a new entrepreneurial fabric. Why has our country, the birthplace of inventors in the past, lost its creative and revolutionary vein? Why are Italian start-ups moving to England, Switzerland or the overseas to grow?
We, in our own small way, thanks to the experience made with our project, have various answers to this question (maybe we will write a book on the subject, with the most interesting and tragicomic anecdotes). We have decided to claim our made in Italy, remaining in our city. We are happy to have found support in Italia Startup which, like us, believes that it is necessary to stimulate the new generations to create their own future by carrying out business projects. To do this, Italia Startup has among its objectives that of enhancing young entrepreneurial initiatives, bringing the world of “startuppers” closer to that of the great Italian company and the one, perhaps the most important of all, of creating an environment conducive to innovation and to innovative companies, acting as spokesmen for their needs and interests. We have decided to be part of this reality because we believe that achieving these goals is crucial for the future of our country.
PS: Don’t look for our number on the White Pages because it is not present yet 🙂