A training course about entrepreneurship… who could ever have thought that it would have been so captivating, so illuminating! Especially for one like me, a literature and history teacher, a foreign body in this sector, somehow even reluctant toward everything has economical profit as its final goal.
Actually the point is that this course – developed along CEF (Creating Enterprise Futures) european project – has gone beyond the narrow conception of enterprise we are used to think about intuitively: it is not about business (or rather, not just), it deals with becoming aware of our talent, taking advantage of it, focusing on our goals and imaging how to turn them into reality in the most pragmatic and precise possible way, learning to prioritize not to dissipate our energy, being aware of how cooperation is essential to remove the existing hurdles. Creativity: that’s probably what is really indispensable to develop an innovative project and also to remove the hurdles between us and its carrying out. And so we had to resort to our creative talent during all the activities of the training course, managed by fantastic Liz Wade, our first 5 days trainer, and then by Luke James, who worthly completed Liz’s work during the last class-lesson day and went with us to the small village Sant’Angelo le Fratte on the next day, where Sistema Turismo staff – the vice president Francescoo Di Bello, Maria Pina Triunfo and Federica Summa – was waiting for us.
As soon as I met my new classmates (2 spanish and 8 english persons), I realized that they didn’t embody at all the cliché of the mean businessman, essentially unresponsive to the world around him. The most of them were teachers (just like me), partly involved in businesses related to cultural and artistic sector. Their vivid intellects and their sincere friendliness made possible our group immediately began really harmonious, either during or after the lesson time, as we decided to spend some time together in “Sopra Potenza” (the historical centre of the town), or to drink a beer together in some bar (no pubs, we’re italian!).
Liz has often joined us in these extra-course activities. She’s a very experienced trainer, but at the same time she always pushes out toward innovation. She succeeded in captivating our attention throughout the lessons and made us feel as the key players of our work. Most of times we were group-divided, discussing about a problem-situation to get to a shared solution; other times, we reflected by ourselves on some issues and then we confronted with the colleagues next to us. The idea of entrepreneurship is very broad, as we can realize by its definition that the class formulated as a synthesis of different propositions during the first lesson day: “Enterprise is an organization that is set up to generate value in economic, social or cultural terms”. In this context, we dealt with a wide variety of issues: the entrepreneur mindset, meant as a constant search for change and improvement, strictly linked to innovation; the problem-solving strategies; being capable of foreseeing the results of our project and its stages of implementation; the basics that allow us to influence and persuade the people around us and much more. In the final lesson days the focus moved to properly technical subjects, like marketing, insurance and taxation, supply chain.
On the last day, we had a trip to Sant’Angelo le Fratte, where we were received by Sistema Turismo staff and by the mayor Michele Laurino, whose helpfulness really amazed our foreign friends. The mayor illustrated us the ventures launched by the town-hall, in order to support local enterprises; then, he accompanied us through the narrow alleys of the historical center, enhanced by more than 150 wall paintings and life-size statues that depict traditional peasant life.
In conclusion, a memorable experience, which allowed me to discover strengths inside me that I didn’t know and made me realize how some features can be useful even in a sector like the entrepreneurial one. And it has been also a great chance to know amazing people.
Thanks to Sistema Turismo for this opportunity!
Lovely to hear about the CEF course from the perspective of another participant, from the European vantage point and from someone who lives and works in the place where we all met and worked together for 10 days. I agree, the course was unusual in that we were shown how entrepreneurship can be challenging and creative for us now moving forward, not just something ambitious to aspire to: we can apply many of the aspects we covered to our everyday lives in and this can lead to surprising and unexpected opportunities. It has the potential of being a mind-opening experience.
Anna Bisset. Redbridge Institute of Adult Education, London.