The entrepreneurial adventure begins
I’m Sabino Basso, the owner of Basso Fedele e Figli Srl, a company that has existed since 1904. I represent the fourth generation and our job is the production and bottling of extra virgin olive oil.
The company was born four generations ago, I am the fourth generation, from my father’s grandfather in 1904, in the province of Salerno, precisely in Giffoni Valle Piana. The family marketed oil, crossed the mountain, and carried oil to the other side of the mountain with mules, to Serino, where the company settled, because my great-grandfather met a girl at the time, he married her and then the Basso family was born. The company now has already started with the fifth generation of my children, who work permanently in the company and are pursuing my philosophical thought.
The money to start
After graduating from university, I graduated in agriculture in Portici, I wanted to do everything but what I am doing now. I joined the family business, it consisted of my father, my mother and only two employees and one day a computer arrived, so as the youngest I had to take charge of this new instrument, which was a novelty at the time. So I found myself in the company unintentionally and unintentionally one day I get a letter from Belgium, of people who wanted to import my product, and there it was, that night I couldn’t sleep, I thought strongly about export and I thought of finally having a company with all the possible and imaginable trappings, a company with a capital C, so Dad’s company was a “home and shop” company: that is, underneath was the factory and above it was our home. So I started dreaming and one day I went to the bank to ask for a loan, putting a mortgage on my father’s and my mother’s house. Fortunately, things went well, otherwise they would have ended on the road.
A negative and a positive event
In the course of life, there are many, many positive things, over the course of a year, so many positive things, so many negative things.
Let’s say, the negative one, which I remember vividly. In 1999 we were victims of an intimidating attack, for extortion. So it was a very dark time, very dramatic, for me, for my family and for my children. In the morning I came to the company and my mind was obfuscated, I could not connect, that is I could not be myself. Fortunately, then, the police at the time did a total cleaning, many of these people are still in jail, fortunately that thing has become only a sad memory.
Of beautiful things, so many, we are in a small town in the province of Avellino and this company is often the object and destination of many people from all over the world. I had the honor to have here in the company the president of Panasonic from Japan, many entrepreneurs of companies one thousand or ten thousand times bigger than mine, who discussed with me about the company.
So, these were the greatest satisfactions, in addition to seeing one’s own employees grow up, get married, buy a car, a home and therefore in this whole growth process, I think I participated too, a little.
Doing business in Italy
Why doing business in Italy, because it is still the second manufacturing country in Europe. We are a brilliant country, an ingenious country, an extraordinarily beautiful country and extraordinarily rich in history and culture and business is a consequence of all this. Unfortunately, however, we are very divided, each has a bell tower, each a color, a story. We are a country of quarrelsome and particularly envious people, we always need to complain against someone, but in the end we remain a great country and if we had less bureaucracy, fewer people who do nothing, we could probably be the first manufacturing country in Europe.
As you know I am an entrepreneur in the food sector, so a sector that has allowed this company to make export 80% of its turnover, precisely because in the world the Made in Italy, in particular the food is highly appreciated. So, having the luck of living in the most beautiful country in the world, the most cultured, with the most history and so on, our quality of life, in addition to our products are appreciated all around the world. So when an Italian goes abroad he is estimated, regardless of the product he sells. I am selling food, in this case oil, I have direct contact with families, that is, I enter directly inside the families, as if I was speaking directly with housewives. So it’s an extraordinarily beautiful thing, seeing at the supermarket a person who buys our bottle, it’s a kind of satisfaction that is indescribable from this point of view.
We are fortunate because we, Italians, unlike other peoples, are a people that manages to put things together well, we are able to “blend” well many products. That is probably because we don’t have a strong, huge agricultural production, because the territory is orographically a little narrow, the Apennines, the Alps and so on, few plains; often the agricultural productions are “blended” with other agricultural productions that come from outside, our job is to put together these products and make them constant throughout the course of the year. So probably our good professionalism is in this.
It is clear that one of the limits of our country is the fact that we have an entrepreneur for every 80 inhabitants; this is also because the politics of the past years has accustomed the population to a permanent job, so in my opinion it is necessary to have a little more initiative, because we have the skills and this can allow us to give hope to many young people who today don’t find opportunities, especially in the south and are forced to emigrate outside of Italy.
In short, we train young people, specialize them, send them abroad and we import manpower from North Africa to harvest tomatoes and oranges. So, this is a pretty serious matter, on which, in my opinion, the work development policies in the country must absolutely take action.
The key traits of an entrepreneur
It’s a fairly complex topic, so let’s say that first he/she must be a person of great balance, must have a strong ambition, must feel fear and at the same time so much courage, because courage develops thanks to fear; and he/she must be a little unconscious, because unconsciousness is part of that genius that helps from time to time, which goes beyond reason, but which often allows us to obtain excellent results.
The future for the new generations
Well, to the young I say, from generation to generation it has always been said that today’s young people are different, they don’t know, they don’t know sacrifice. My grandfather used to say this to the young people of my father’s age, my father used to say this to my peers, we, those of my age say this addressing the youth of today. The reality is that the generations that come, the new generations are far superior to the previous ones. In the case of my family, the management of my children is better than mine.
To the young I say, that they have so many more opportunities, in the sense that we in their age were thirsty for knowledge and not thirsty for possession. It took days, weeks to get information on the outcome of a match or on the release of a record. The ball or the bike or the moped was enough that only one of our friends had it and it was fine for us. Today, today’s youth is the opposite, craving for possession and not craving for knowledge, because knowledge is always available. You just need to open Google or some other search engine and find everything you need instantly, there’s no effort to be made.
To young people I say, that they must move, they must undertake, they must enter in entrepreneurial activities because now the jobs are few, there are no more, we need companies that produce and give jobs. So let’s pass the baton to them, so that this process can take place.