The entrepreneurial adventure begins
I am Levratti Maurizio, owner of the Valmatic company born in 1980 by chance at the “cafè” with a friend of mine, my brother-in-law.
We started together to produce suppository machines in the pharmaceutical world. After that, there was the problem that I knew absolutely nothing, because I worked in the construction sector. I didn’t know what it was and it was an adventure and helping my brother-in-law economically in this operation, at a certain moment I found myself becoming an entrepreneur, that I was an employee in a construction company, therefore a completely different thing. But I wanted to do new things, I too got tired of being a clerk, after 10-12 years, that’s enough and all this led me to this adventure that I’m telling you right now, starting from the garage of my house, where we started building machines right away for suppositories.
Then, at the end of the nineties, the suppository sector went into crisis and we invented this plastic single-dose that we are then spreading, we try to spread all over the world with excellent results, for now.
The money to start
The idea was there, but there was a problem: “Where to find the money to start?” and here began … Looking at our eyes with my partner, what we do what we do, then, taking advantage of my knowledge that I had in the banks, I tried to go and convince some director to grant me 5 million (old lira) which was the minimum limit because the signature was not required. I made four banks, because only one did not give me 20 million, I had 20 million to start immediately and here I made the four banks, they gave me the money to be able to start, which was a small part of what was needed, but I needed this already to start.
Here, the economic part had been precisely, it was very hard at the beginning because there were very hard moments in which we had to face …, especially as I can say an anecdote: ENEL (electric supplier) came to cut the current in the shed, but then they didn’t cut it, because a friend of mine came and wrote that there was a closed door, I could not enter. 185.000 lira, that I had to bring after 3-4 days, but there was the moment when I already managed to get over this problem, which was there. But the desire to do was such that 180.000 lira, we didn’t give a damn, I went around with an old Fiat 500, I didn’t give a damn, but the desire to do things was great.
A negative and a positive event
An episode, unfortunately negative, that I had was that, after ten years of being with my brother-in-law, he was struck by an illness that had to abandon the company and I found myself from morning to evening that I didn’t know …, on the machines I didn’t know anything, we have learned everything on the commercial, but I, at the level of machines, was a zero. Here for me, it was a very hard time.
Instead, the positive, almost fatalistic one, was that after 13 years, I bought all the buildings where I was a clerk, when I was a boy. This whole factory, I worked with my employer to build it when I worked in the construction sector, then I bought it back after 14 years at the auction, it’s one thing. And another happy thing is that my children two years ago, a year ago, agreed to join the company to come and work with us, to try to see if we can move forward.
Here are the two or three things that have marked me a little in the thought, which I had, which I gladly remember about this. Then I had happy things, because I was one of those entrepreneurs who took my employees to the sea by bus, in the summer to eat fish with the families: all at sea by bus and so we went. Today I can no longer do it, because the pile has expanded, there is no longer harmony, I have people of different nationalities, different cultures and I am very sorry and unable to do it anymore. The parties that were held at my house in the garden with all the families, the children, these were things that, as an entrepreneur, as a small entrepreneur, gave me satisfactions that I previously thought of only, then in my own small way I tried to realize them.
Doing business in Italy
We all ask ourselves why we work in Italy. This Italy that everybody degrades it, which everyone says, I honestly believe for my little experience that Italy is, not because I am a parochial, but it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, because there we find people who know how to do everything. We, with screwdriver, a little scotch and a little bit of wire, do everything. I go around the world a little, but the employees we have, none have them. Then it is true that when they come away, they forget a piece at home, we are not organized, but the elasticity of mind, the imagination that we have, all envy us. We have people that I believe to be unique in the imagination, but not just because they say, because in truth I have technicians who, when I send around, call me customers and say: “What good people you have, but where did you train them? ” I have not formed anything; they are very good people.
Therefore, I am very happy, we certainly have problems, taxes, bureaucracy, all these things exist. However, sometimes, under this history of taxes, of bureaucracies, I think we are going to hide also the shortcoming that we have a problem: we are not great entrepreneurs. We up a certain number are good, from that number onwards, according to what I see, we are no longer up to the task, because let’s face it, we are, in my opinion, even conservative anarchists, the rules for us Italians, the rules are tight, also for me, but I have to say that in this anarchy where we find the starting point for inventing things, doing things that for others are not easy.
And for me, Italy is still an enviable Country, because where we go they envy us, then we certainly have problem, but I believe that others do not have any less than us.
The key traits of an entrepreneur
Telling the characteristics of an entrepreneur is not so easy, because each of us has our own way of thinking, but I think there are two or three things that the entrepreneur … must be a dreamer first of all, a person who believes in what he does.
Besides, the other thing is to be ready to listen to everyone and at some point to decide, I think this is very important. Being very flexible, flexible and even curious and everything he sees must transform it in his work. See the business as part of his work, seeing us around.
An entrepreneur must look, not see, which are two very different things and I believe that the spirit, the struggle that an entrepreneur every morning …, every morning I look in the mirror I have to say, I have to question myself , every morning I don’t shave, because I have a beard, but I question myself every morning, because what I did yesterday was definitely not going well and we need it to go on, to always see go ahead otherwise we risk to sit, as unfortunately, it is happening here with us, we are sitting a little.
The future for the new generations
If I had to recommend a young person, I would be very much in trouble now. While I believe that my parents had less difficulty in suggesting to me the question. The world has changed, a young man has to believe in what he does, but this is normal to the end and I will also say that a young person must also have some difficulties because, if he has some difficulties, he develops antibodies and will need him a lot to face the future, when it will actually enter the business world. Then a young man must think about the future, ride it in all his …
Today we have a completely different future, I no longer imagine a young man opening in a garage, as I did, absolutely, it’s impossible, he can’t do it. They will have new activities, they will dream of new things, they will be very good, let it be said what is said, but we have young people that I respect very much. I have the people around us who are almost all young. I’m very happy, unfortunately I don’t think they have the easy way, as we did. I, despite the problems, consider myself to have had an easy road.
For the young men in the future the easy way will be much harder and I don’t know if they will be able to have the satisfactions that we have had, because we put small ones … I always say to my children, put some near goals, not very long because long goals exhaust, they tire, then if you don’t reach them they depress you. Instead the small goals give you that little satisfaction, which then loads you to go to the other goal. Otherwise, on the future of young people at work they will find incredible difficulties, because there is such a fast technological transition, so fast that today I find it hard to use a mobile phone.
I don’t know what you’re going to do tomorrow. I would like to be there in 50 years, my goodness, what a beautiful thing I would like to be there, but unfortunately I cannot do this, I certainly hope that young people will have one thing: to be honest with themselves and to appreciate the skilled, not the sly, do not be sly because the mischief will fool you.