JCU Entrepreneurship Talk Highlights Italian Success Stories

John Cabot University’s Department of Business Administration presented the first event in the Entrepreneurship Lecture Series for Fall 2011: “Entrepreneurship Talk: Back to the Roots of Entrepreneurship”:

Italy’s business community is alive and kicking, and most importantly growing. These were the sentiments expressed during last Wednesday’s exceptionally well-attended “Entrepreneurship Talk: Back to the Roots of Entrepreneurship” event, presented by John Cabot University in collaboration with the Business Association Italy America (BAIA). Vice President and Dean of the University, Dr. Mary Merva, CFA, gave the opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the benefits of investing in the place in which one lives. The panel presentations and discussion were moderated by Professor Pietro Paganini, who gave a rousing introduction to the overflowing Aula Magna lecture hall.

The panel members consisted of Pierluigi dal Pino, Director for Institutional and Industrial Relations for Microsoft, Bruno Pellegrini, Chief Executive Officer of TheblogTV, and Marco Sbardello, Co-founder of Skuola.net. Each panel member explained his role within the individual companies and offered ideas about how best to engage in developing one’s own business, from the initial idea to formulating a business plan to finding investors.

Both Pellegrini and Sbardello focused on the topic of efficiently and effectively mobilizing one’s initial business idea. Pellegrini stated repeatedly to the audience that “all ideas have a termination date,” and Sbardello acknowledged how integral the process of sharing ideas with others was to the foundation and continuation of Skuola.net.

The event wrapped up with a brief question and answer session, during which one important fact came to light: in Italy ageism is an inherent part of the business community and is biased towards younger people starting businesses. Younger means any age below thirty, and it also means a tax break in starting a business. Perhaps this is why speed is so imperative to the process. After all, as one panel member so aptly expressed, “In Italy, after thirty, it doesn’t matter-You pay more.”

Diedré M. Blake