The entrepreneurial adventure begins
I am Giovanna Flor, CEO of Bauer SpA. This company is a historical company for our territory, the Trentino. This year is 90 years old. The company was born from the Bauer lords that many, many years ago had started the business, importing from Germany the broth nuts and then, precisely in 1929, they tried to make them in Trento and therefore they imported, let’s say, the techniques that they had learned in Germany and began to produce. At the time the company was located behind the “Buonconsiglio Castle”. Therefore, it is a company that has a long tradition but today, despite having experienced a thousand hardships, it is still very active and today it is also the third company in the sector of stock cubes in Italy, followed by Star and Knorr, therefore two companies very much big, two multinationals, therefore, with distances in terms of very large volumes, but let’s say Bauer has achieved this position within the panorama of the national broth nuts’ sector.
In the 1980s, my family took over this company from Mr. Bauer, along with another partner, a company that was actually going bankrupt. Mr. Bauer had no heirs and my father, together with another partner, decided to try to relaunch the company, which at that time already had a very, very clear imprint, try to relaunch it, to see if it could have however a continuation, compared to that moment of crisis that was going through.
So, let’s say, in the mid-eighties there was this change of ownership and then over the years I joined the company myself, it is 1995, after my studies in political science that were actually aimed at doing everything other, because I wanted to be a policeman, but instead I found myself doing something else that over the years has fascinated me, really a lot. I wanted with all my strength then to try to give to the company my imprint, to build something that really looked to innovation, to the future and that was also at the forefront in many aspects, including values.
The money to start
My family has entered this company, precisely, in a crisis situation. So, let’s say, the initial investments, although there have been, have not been excessive. Over the years, some entrepreneurial mistakes have been made and acquisitions have been made that did not go well and that also had very important repercussions on our company. At that moment I joined the company and I had to face these crisis situations and not having the experience because I was leaving a University, Political Science that does not give many tools aimed at the job I was about to undertake. At that moment, this company suffered almost undercapitalization, but then with perseverance and in any case with the income capacity that this company was able to express, it was raised again and I must say that we have solved this moment of crisis with great tenacity and great capacity of the company of self sustaining.
A negative and a positive event
The absolute negative event, the turbulent entry into the company is due to a crisis situation that I essentially had to face without tools. Here the idea is precisely that of not giving up because if the idea is good you need to persevere, hold on, face all the problems day by day as they arise and understand that looking ahead the results come sooner or later.
The positive event that was the culmination of my thoughts and of what I wanted to do in the company is the construction of this building. Thus, this building that was built in 2011 and we then opened in 2012, which for me was a strongly desired dream, eco-sustainable structure, which represented Bauer and the values that Bauer puts in the products. The products have a very strong naturalness and therefore also the location that represented us and where our staff works, had to be absolutely eco-sustainable, so we wanted to certify this property “Leed, that is a certification of American origin, but translated from the autonomous province of Trento in the standards and therefore it was the first building to be certified according to the “Leed Italia” standards in 2009 and this is a bit, we say, the departure of a somewhat broader reasoning that Bauer made at the conceptual level , because inspired a bit by a concept of goodness at 360 degrees which for us is declined in three fundamental areas. The environment, and clearly this building is the expression, our products, that are certified “PEF” for which they have the environmental footprint of the product, it is expressed in particular attention to human resources, with these Family certifications, which are certifications that go in the direction of the council action between family and work and therefore we have interpreted, if you wish, not in a sense of response to trade union demands, but precisely in the sense of building an internal climate and an awareness of the role of each of our collaborators very, very pushed, because then all this translates into our productions which are quality productions. And on the third branch, there is the product, with all the certifications we have faced and with all the claims we express also on the packaging, which obviously involve a very important work of self-control, according to the safety of the consumer, of health and which however represents for us the real difference compared to products on the market. So, we have gluten-free certifications, we have vegan certification and all this translates into a self-control system that provides for the control of 140 raw materials, 150 packages with a very, very complicated underlying system, but we are committed to managing precisely to protect our consumer.
Doing business in Italy
Italy has a lot to express, it is a wonderful territory, we are then located in Trentino, so we certainly have a territory that gives many stimuli to companies that know how to seize them. In particular, as far as Bauer is concerned, this attention to the environment and therefore to eco-sustainability that also arises from the autonomous province of Trento, for this attention towards “Leed certifications”, but I also refer to the “Family certification”, therefore to the conciliation family-work which is a certification that comes into being in Trentino. Yes, and it is true that in Italy sometimes there is a cumbersome legislative system, with important limitations and therefore entrepreneurs sometimes find themselves facing a little difficulty. However, these regulations which, for example, are also linked to our sector, if well interpreted and also followed, can still give a competitive advantage. For us, following these laws that are also a little dated, existing on the national territory, has allowed us to obtain an advantage, because this has translated into a much higher quality product, compared to foreign competitors who work with some looser restrictions.
Why Italy? Because if we grasp the stimuli that are there, these certainly translate into a completion of the companies’ proposal, which goes beyond the product.
The key traits of an entrepreneur
First and foremost it must have great tenacity, be clear about its purpose, what its project is, look at it in the long run and not look at the immediate, do not be discouraged by the difficulties that arise daily, surround yourself with exceptional collaborators, work on technical skills, but also on the relational abilities that make the absolute difference, compared to the success of the project that we want to carry on.
The future for the new generations
First of all, I would say, if there is a dream you must cultivate it, but it is not enough, because before putting it into practice I would still recommend an important training course, from a technical point of view, then not necessarily linked to the dream of the young man, but also a preparation of what are basically called “soft skills”, also relational skills. These two things, in my opinion, are very important to give an open mind and the open-mindedness that my studies have given me, it has served me, it has served me in terms of internal organization, in terms also of the ability to organize things and therefore also to organize a company. So absolutely, the preparation, even if not specific or if not directly connected with the work or the project that the young person has, is fundamental, it will be very useful in the realization of the dream. And then it is clear that, if the dream is concrete and can be compared to added value, obviously you must not give up and this is fundamental. So, really try to look forward, not stop at the daily problem, but insist on the path until you reach where, where you plan to arrive.