Entrepreneurs and Innovators

In Loppiano, a seminar on business, in preparation for Social Week Calabria. Initiatives, meetings and experiences that give trust to the country.

Entrepreneurs and Innovators

By Paolo Lòriga

Published on on 19/06/2010

100617_Loppiano01_ridRecently, Confindustria held its assembly, and even more recently, there was also the Assembly of Young Industrists. And yet, the journey of reflection that begun more than a year ago to prepare the 46th edition of Social Weeks of Italian Catholics - to be held in Reggio Calabria in October - decided to take a stop on June 17 at an unusual place, the industrial park of Loppiano, at the doors of Florence. Here, within 9600 square meters, twenty businesses of various sectors of production have their headquarters, as well as the administrative center for more than 200 Italian businesses that adhere to the Economy of Communion project. The "Polo" is a recent construction (2006) that crosses paths with the centennial-long journey of Social Weeks (1907).

"The current crisis can be a fruitful moment that gives light to the difficult transition underway. For us, the Polo is the ideal place to speak about the new kind of business that we foresee", Alessandra Smerilli, economist, professor in Rome and member of the organizing committee for Social Weeks, said at the opening of the event. The role that the entrepreneur and business can carry out in the realization of the common good is certainly not at the margins of the ecclesial world´s studies. But it is also true that a question that still hangs over our heads: what kind of entrepreneur is needed to get out of this crisis? This was the topic chosen for the meeting, enriched by experiences in light of Caritas in Veritate.

Last May, a preparatory document to the next Social Week was released, called "Catholics in 100617_Loppiano04_ridItaly Today. An Agenda of Hope for the Future of the Country". The text gathered contributions from the seventy or so meetings held in all of Italy. Therefore, why another seminar? "This is the first appointment after the Document was published," said Edoardo Patriarca, secretary of the organizing committee, "and this allows us to anticipate the debate that will develop in Reggio Calabria. One of the areas to elaborate on is that of undertaking. Therefore, here at the Polo, in a way, the true Social Week begins".

The data on national and international unemployment, the emblematic happenings at Termini Imerese and of Pomigliano d´Arco are there to remind people that new undertakings are indispensable in order to return to growth, and not only economic growth. In the opening, economist Luigino Bruni spoke about the contribution that civil economy can make, underlining the importance today - in regards to competition with China - that entrepreneurs go back to being innovators. "The scope of (the entrepreneur´s)behavior is innovation. Profit is only the reward. If this logic is not present, he closes himself in positions of profit," Bruni clarified.

100617_Loppiano03_ridThere were two first-hand accounts of two entrepreneurs, Johnny Dotti, of Welfare Italia, and Maria Teresa Fumi, who together with other professionals, began the "Risana" poly-ambulatory, located at the Loppiano Polo and is rapidly developing. They highlighted the need to know how to innovate. The dialogue with the public was preceded by a presentation by Mauro Magatti, Dean of the Department of Sociology of the Catholic University. "In Italy," he said, "beyond what is represented in the mass media, there are many men and women, many initiatives and many places that have not fallen into the logics of nihilism and statism". This was his invitation to all to have trust in the real country.

The answers of the presenters seemed to have closed the seminar, but in the final greetings, Patriarca launched an unexpected proposal: his hope that there will be a chance to meet again next year at the Polo to continue this dialogue on new undertakings, gathering and re-launching what will result from the Reggio Calabria meeting.

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