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#RestartItalia, Wwworkers photographs the restart of SMEs (digital keyword)

What has been the response of small businesses to the coronavirus crisis? The Wwworkers.it community (with the support of the PMI tree) has thought about it and conducted the research #RestartItalia

Turin, May 23, 2020

by Gabriella Rocco

It is an Italy full of stories of micro-entrepreneurship that has continued to give its best, respecting the regulatory restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus crisis. And it has done so by devising innovative solutions and remodeling its business through digital levers, exploiting an ally that is increasingly valuable today: the Internet.

The responses to the lockdown, the new narrative, the new dynamics of sales and relationships: the reaction of small businesses of excellence to the coronavirus crisis, these crucial topics were dealt with by #RestartItalia research, carried out by the Wwworkers community in collaboration with PMI digitale tree.

#RestartItalia, the stories

In Rome’s Monteverde district, three young innovators have created Daje Shop, a small neighborhood Amazon to help local commerce. Then, from his stone Mulinum in San Floro, Calabria, Stefano Caccavari responded online to the sudden demand for flour from Italians by shipping parcels with no shipping costs and with sourdough as a gift, reaching peaks of over 500 orders per day.

Meanwhile, others have converted part of their production into ISS certified face masks, like the social cooperative Progetto Quid involved in the creation of clothes and accessories from surplus fabrics, employing 85% female staff with over 60% coming from vulnerable environments. And some have succeeded in withstanding the market downturn thanks to past investments in e-commerce, such as Berto Salotti in Brianza and FridaBike in Milan.

Moreover, others like Vigne Mastrodomenico have tried  to transfer physical experiences into the virtual world.  The latter has organized virtual tastings from the barrel in the province of Cosenza to its customers across the world. And Dalle Piane Cashmere di Prato has added value to the strength of e-commerce with the possibility of receiving advice via video call from a personal shopping consultant.

Resisting in the market without forgetting your community, customers or countrymen. This is how Evo Pricing, a leading company in predictive analysis, has offered its services free of charge to its customers to help them orient themselves in the market demands during such a difficult moment to understand. Also, Sfera Agricola di Gavorrano in the province of Grosseto has donated its hydroponic tomatoes to the less fortunate. Again, in Turin, Roberta Balotti has offered her Apartments To Art to doctors and nurses.

“Under the new normalcy created by the Covid-19 crisis, which rewrites habits and relationships, the digital isn’t just an accessory anymore, it it is a multiplier of opportunities. An added value in doing business, central to the reorganization of the supply chain, to the redefinition of processes, to the rewriting of narratives, in the redesigning of markets. Especially because in the new era of social distancing smartphones are becoming new travel and shopping companions,” explains Giampaolo Colletti, founder of the job community of workers of the Wwworkers.it network.

#RestartItalia, photography with data

This is attested by the #RestartItalia research carried out by the job community of workers of the Wwworkers network with the support of Pmi Innovative Tree, in partnership with AGIA Associazione Giovani Imprenditori of CIA-Agricoltori Italiani and GammaDonna, using a sample of over 400 small and medium sized companies, professionals, artisans and farmers. A survey to listen to those small businesses that make Italy great and photograph the response of the global microbrand production system to the crisis and critical situation.

The tsunami that hit small businesses led to a multitude of responses to the crisis: 31% maintained just a few production lines, 16% converted their supply chain for a specific product or service, resulting in a change in the business model. Although 24% have not changed anything, 27% of them have had to close their businesses and comply with regulatory restrictions. More than 70% of the entrepreneurs interviewed agree that innovation and digitization are the key ingredients that have enabled their company to cope with the crisis.

A change in the use of communication channels

One thing that emerges from this is a change in the use of communication channels. Hence, a change in sales. This was the case for 42% of respondents, with the prevailing choice to embrace social media (87%). This was followed by e-commerce (39%), instant messaging chat report on WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger (32%), the creation of videos on YouTube (16%) or live streaming videos (32%). And in rare cases the implementation of projects related to virtual reality (2%) or gamification (1%). Among the reinforced social networks in the redefinition of work were Zuckerberg’s apps, with Facebook at the top (93%) and Instagram (72%). Despite everything, there are new pages to write. The prevailing feelings were alternatingly those of opportunity (33%) and disorientation (27%).

However, among the nuances there is also courage (14%), anxiety (11%), fear (9%). Micro-enterprises that interact with the local community concerned, also offered answers: the majority promoted actions to support and reassure employees (64%), more than half undertook activities that benefited the community (51%).

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