GIMED: ‘Fa Bene Sicilia’, a social cooperative that promotes fair trade food in Sicily

Fa Bene Sicilia

‘Fa Bene Sicilia’ is a social cooperative that promotes social cohesion and fights inequalities through food. It consists on an ethical and sustainable e-commerce where they operate in the fair trade sector by selling agro-food and personal care products. “The social purpose of our cooperative is to generate work opportunities for marginalized people”, points out Daniela Avanzato, the main female entrepreneur behind this innovative start-up in Sicily.

In terms of social inclusion, workers will be engaged in the logistical, warehouse management and commercial activities of the project. Established in May 2021, this Agrigento-based start-up has as a challenge making the social and economic benefit of the project permanent and operationally managing the activities taken up by three Sicilian entrepreneurs. Gaetano Lucchese (quality) and Alfio Finocchiaro (supply chain) are the other two innovators involved in the project.

This social cooperative had the opportunity to be selected and attend GIMED training with an approach oriented to the social entrepreneur and to the market. “GIMED has helped us to place us better in the market and strengthen aspects to increase our competitiveness”, says Avanzato. Such fields where ‘Fa Bene Sicilia’ is stronger are economic-managerial, financial, marketing and also social and environmental sustainability. Among that, they could also network with other project teams involved in the sessions.

“The participation in the ENI CBC MED program allowed us to improve and strengthen the tools developed so far, and ad new ones, as well as receive very operational tips in the field of marketing and communication”

From an ideation stage to selling products from a local short supply chain

Shortly before joining GIMED project, the three Italian entrepreneurs had already set up the cooperative. Nevertheless, they had just completed the analysis and development of their strategic planning tools, but hadn’t yet started the activities. “The participation in the ENI CBC MED program allowed us to improve and strengthen the tools developed so far, and ad new ones, as well as receive very operational tips in the field of marketing and communication”, she recognises.

The start-up focuses on selling products coming from a local short supply chain. What they do is selling them through the so-called ‘Family Purchasing Groups’, which are small communities that meet online to do their shopping and physically through local animation activities. In addition to this, the e-commerce also offers the possibility of donating meals to families in difficulty, fact that increases its social impact.

In this sense, the geographical concentration of this purchasing groups and the proximity between producers and consumers. Their business model allows them to promote a sustainable distribution chain respecting the environment and reducing the carbon print. The Messina Community Foundation, which is the Italian partner from GIMED, was behind the training sessions also with a close collaboration from Agrigento Community Foundation and Trapani Community Foundation, who was the initial promoter of the business idea.

Picture: Daniela Avanzato, female entrepreneur behind 'Fa Bene Sicilia' 

Sustainable Christmas boxes to kick off the online shop

Despite of their recent activities kick-off, the online shop has managed to sell their first products through Christmas boxes. The greatest success of this campaign for the last period of the year was the customer satisfaction, together with the achievement of a certain number of boxes sold.

The Covid-19 pandemic is strongly limiting their social entrepreneurship activity, as the project is nourished by community engagement and opportunities for meeting. Nevertheless, they wish that the epidemic situation goes better and can distribute dry fruits, cheeses, vegetables, rice, pasta, oil, honey and other ecological products to Sicilian families.