Technically, Antonino Saccà isn’t yet an Alumnus: he’s still attending the EMBA XIV that officially started on December 11th, 2015. He’s been interviewed for this series though because he was invited, the only BBS current student, to the Digital Fair that was held on Saturday July 2nd, 2016.
Antonino, during his latest work experience at Manzoni, where he worked as an agent until December 2015, chose to enrol in the Business Administration Executive Master at Bologna Business School to relaunch himself professionally, being aware that delving deeper into new topics, building relationships and becoming part of a network of businesses and skills may make the difference for those who wish to start a new career.
“I like being given free rein and I welcome the possibility of organizing events that promote networking.” This is the spirit with which Antonino is experiencing the EMBA at BBS. He’s someone interested in social relationships (“You get to meet new people here, and this is a good thing” and again “one side of entrepreneurship I appreciate is when it manifests itself not just as the development of an individual vision but most of all in relation to the team”) and endowed with a high degree of altruism (“I’d like to work for the development of startups and therefore create new jobs, especially for young people” or “as for the LoveItaly! project I’m simply a volunteer but I’m participating to its development with enthusiasm”). His entrance at Bologna Business School took place thanks to an honor loan, that grants him the chance to relaunch his career without too many sacrifices. “I really like the informal attitude at the School. I’m particularly interested in the entrepreneurs’ success stories that are presented to us during our classes: their journey, difficulties, solutions, growth. Positive stories that, besides being instructive, can also be an inspiration. Especially if they come from young entrepreneurs of small startups.”
Not by chance
The interest for new entrepreneurial ideas is motivated also by Antonino’s commitment on topics such as corporate finance, private equity and venture capital. “I’d like to work for an incubator, a business accelerator, a seed venture capital fund for which what counts is job creation and the development of entrepreneurship.” And in this sense, Antonino hasn’t certainly stood idly by: in December 2015 he joined the group of members and business angels of the non-profit LoveItaly! association, located in Rome, a special project of LVenture Group. “Mainly, it’s a crowdfunding digital platform to support artworks restoration projects.” The clients are public entities, such as museums, cultural heritage and regional authorities. “We deal with ‘donation reward’ based charity: when one donates non-refundable sums, we offer in exchange an experiential journey of the location being restored.”
The fund raising market
“In Italy, there are at least 22 crowdfunding platforms. The market exists. LoveItaly! decided to be vertical on the theme of art. Most crowdfunding platforms to raise money have a wide scope of application”. Antonino deals with the dissemination of the platform at fairs, conferences, events. “I contributed both to the promotion and the direct financial support of several restoration projects, like the restoration of the Domus del Centauro in Pompei and the acquisition of new projects like the one in Palermo, on behalf of the Galleria Regionale della Sicilia of Palazzo Abatellis on the future restoration of the Loggia Arabo Normanna with the support of the Cultural Heritage Department of the Region Sicily. Thanks to the BBS Digital Fair that was held last July 2nd, I established a contact with the University of Bologna: I am to perform the fund raising for the analysis that will precede the restoration of the Statua del Nettuno in Piazza Maggiore [Bologna]”.
Donation, a user guide
“From the operational point of view, you’re contacted by the client because they’re interested in proposing a restoration project. A survey visit is conducted, the client provides the restorers’ cost estimates and a detailed photo gallery to describe the restoration needs. The dossier is submitted to LoveItaly! guarantors committee, that comprises highly qualified professionals who worked, or still work, for Fine Arts authorities. This step aims at checking that the restoration estimate amounts are in line with the proposed restoration work. Then we organise the restoration campaign: an agreement is reached between LoveItaly! and the public authority to whom, once the funds have been raised, we hand over the donations,, holding ourselves harmless, as the guarantor has got to be the same public authority that proposed the project, also outlining the different stages and those in charge of the restoration itself.”
Why and how to rely on Venture Capital
Besides his commitment for the LoveItaly! cause and his sincere love of art, Antonino has resumed his studies to access the venture capital and private equity world. As for this important field of financing devoted to new entrepreneurial activities, he provides a few relevant tips. “Once you’ve been selected for an acceleration tender by a Venture Capital, you need to be patient and go on developing the project for at least the following 18-24 months before moving on to the second round of funding”. From the beginning of the acceleration programme for startups, the venture capital requires one to start invoicing within the first five months, in order to demonstrate the soundness of the project for which one’s received the initial seed, but also the commitment on long-term objectives, like for instance the development of Technological Innovation, for which normally new rounds of funds are available. Otherwise the financed project will be abandoned or investors might prematurely leave. “Out of 10 projects that are taken into consideration, 5 fail right away, 2 produce something, 1 goes adrift and 1 is the star that allows the venture capital to earn on the investment made. Only innovative ideas are financed, you need to follow the indications of the venture capital fund and you enter a shared interest sphere in which it’s fundamental to believe in what you’re doing. Perseverance always pays and customers arrive when they see that an idea that was rewarded by the venture capital goes on and insists.” Never give up, be optimistic. Which is, after all, Antonino’s life-style.
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