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The stories of small business owners who are resisting the virus, and winning.

Reorganize the supply chain, redefine processes, rewrite narratives and redesign markets. The Wwworkers.it network.

Turin, 20 May 2020

Italy has a history of micro-entrepreneurship that has kept on giving its best, respecting the regulatory restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus crisis. And it has done so by devising innovative solutions and rethinking its business through digital levers which consists of exploiting an ally that is even more valuable today: the Internet.

#RestartItalia, the stories

So, three young innovators in the Monteverde district of Rome have created Daje Shop, a small neighborhood Amazon designed to help local commerce. From his stone-built Mulinum in San Floro, Calabria, Stefano Caccavari was able to respond online to Italians’ sudden demand for flour by sending them parcels free of shipping charges and with sourdough as a gift, reaching peaks of over 500 orders per day.

Moreover, others have converted part of their production into ISS certified face masks, like the social cooperative Progetto Quid, which creates clothes and accessories from surplus fabrics, with 85% of its staff being female and more than 60% coming from vulnerable environments.

And some of them have managed to withstand the market downturn thanks to the e-commerce investments they made in the past, such as Berto Salotti in Brianza and FridaBike in Milan. Or those who have tried to transfer physical experiences into the virtual world like Vigne Mastrodomenico who organized virtual tastings from Barile in the province of Cosenza to customers overseas. Also, Maglificio Angorelle of Prato has added value to the strength of e-commerce with the possibility of receiving advice via video call with a personal shopper.

Resisting in the marketplace without forgetting your community, customers or fellow 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 response to market demands during such a difficult time to understand. Also, Sfera Agricola located in Gavorrano, in the province of Grosseto, has donated its hydroponic tomatoes to the less fortunate. While in Turin, Roberta Balotti has offered her Apartments To Art to doctors and nurses.

“Amid the new normalcy created by the Covid-19 crisis, which rewrites habits and relationships, the digital becomes a multiplier of opportunities and not just an accessory element. It is an added value in doing business, central to the reorganization of the supply chain, in the redefinition of processes, in the rewriting of narratives, in the rethinking of markets. This is also because in the new era of social distancing, smartphones are becoming new travel and shopping companions,” explains Giampaolo Colletti, founder of Wwworkers.it, the job community of workers.

#RestartItalia, data photography

This is certified by the #RestartItalia research carried out by the job community of workers in the Wwworkers.it network with the support of the innovative SME Tree, in partnership with AGIA Associazione Giovani Imprenditori di CIA-Agricoltori Italiani and GammaDonna, based on a sample of over 400 small and medium sized companies, professionals, craftsmen and farmers. A survey aimed at listening to those small businesses that make Italy great and photographing the response of the global microbrand production system to the crisis and critical situation.

The tsunami that hit small businesses triggered a multitude of responses to the crisis: while 31% maintained just a few production lines, 16% converted their supply chain to a specific product or service generating a change in their business model. Although 24% did not undergo any changes, 27% had to close their companies 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 companies to cope with the crisis. One thing that emerges from this is a change in the use of communication channels, and this is as a result of changes in sales. This was the case for 42% of respondents, of whom the prevailing choice was to embrace social media (87%). Followed by e-commerce (39%), WhatsApp instant messaging chat report, Telegram, Facebook Messenger (32%), YouTube video creation (16%) or live streaming video (32%). And in rare cases the implementation of projects related to virtual reality (2%) or gamification (1%). Among the social networks strengthened in the redefinition of work were Zuckerberg’s companies, led by Facebook (93%) and Instagram (72%).

Well, there are new pages to write, in spite of everything. The prevailing feelings were opposingly those of opportunity (33%) and disorientation (27%). However, these nuances also included courage (14%), anxiety (11%), fear (9%). Micro-enterprises which dialogue with the local community concerned, also provided answers: the majority have promoted actions to support and reassure their employees (64%), more than half have undertaken activities that benefit their community (51%).

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