The heretic businessmen of Calabria

11825864_855630887807854_1142590207000352334_nHearing for the first time the term heretic, our immediate thought is of religion. Nothing could be further from how they intended to define some Calabrian entrepreneurs who wanted to identify with this word. “Heretics may be considered as those who challenge the status quo,” reads the blog by Massimiliano Capalbo. The young Calabrian entrepreneur has created the first Eco park – experiential in Sila, Calabria: the entrance to the park is free, you pay only for the activities and services that you choose. For a heretic, this way of doing business was an approach that would normally be defined as revolutionary: “… to be a heretic today means: to share, to participate, to become passionate. To live”.

Capalbo has decided to make a clean break from all the institutional bureaucracy related, more or less, to bumbling politicians that in fact don’t do their jobs. Not to be alone, he searched somewhere else: “Quite simply I took the car, I went around Calabria and I discovered that there are many people quietly working to build a future, something for themselves and for others.” Currently the Facebook group “Ereticamente” has about a thousand members with ongoing activities being promoted: the most recent being a collection of necessary funds for the restoration of the Grotto of Palazze in Mendicino (province of Cosenza), including the use of crowdfunding.  All in the context of an informal visit, like a trip with friends rather than a meeting in business suits, “I got to know many businessmen like me, gathered in a meeting of heretical companies, given the opportunity to tell their stories, getting to know one other.  To insure we remain independent and not settle into a single logic: we got together by our own choosing, not because it was required of us,” – the Catanzarese entrepreneur continues: “We have certain aspects in common that unite us and this way we feel less alone because everyone works in their own reality, with dozens of daily difficulties that involved in doing business in Italy and in Calabria to a greater extent.”

And we return to another indicative phrase in this blog, very strong, a kind of manifesto of the how-to-guide for heretic Calabrian entrepreneurs: “In a world of highly educated sheep, ready to follow the herd, the winner is the one who manages not to follow.”  The idea was born in 2010 by Massimiliano Capalbo and Nuccio Cantelmi. “We are not an association, we do not have a statute – said Capalbo – but we are in fact moving concretely because we decided to do a tour in Calabria with the aim of making citizens aware of our activities and of our work ethic.” Among the heretic entrepreneurs it is interesting to note that Rosario Benedetto from the hinterland of Varese decided to invest in Calabria, specifically in the small center of Roseto Capo Spulico in the province of Cosenza. Benedetto is planning to reintroduce the cultivation of roses in that territory and through his company produce products derived from them; at the same time the intention is to realize a tourist reception space. While Savonarola, accused of heresy, was burned in the public square, these young entrepreneurs are trying to bring about a new way of working, taking to the public squares their ideas, with the fire and motivation that drives them to work among countless difficulties.