GIMED: Snail farming creating jobs for vulnerable communities in Italy
Cooperativa Eterea focuses on snail and other local products farming and cultivation on previously abandoned field, while employing people in risk of vulnerability. This is the idea behind this sustainable initiative that is developing its business model through the GIMED project. Alessandro Marzullo, Eterea’s CEO, explains how this project will open the door to new job opportunities for people in situation of social vulnerability.
Before joining the program, Marzullo didn’t have entrepreneurial background or experience in managing or setting up projects. But his own enthusiasm and purpose made him wonder how to go beyond his objectives, and when Fondazione Communità di Messina, GIMED’s Italian partner, introduced the project to them, they didn’t think it twice. “Our biggest accomplishment has been the satisfaction of seeing our idea grow and develop”, stated Marzullo.
In the context of the EU-funded program ENI CBC MED, GIMED has assisted Eterea supporting them from the early stage to become a well-organised, sustainable and solid start-up, as well as to expand into new markets and funding opportunities that could be beneficial for the growth of their project. “Doing green business is the right choice for the good and the future of society as a whole”, shares Marzullo.
By the support provided by GIMED, Eterea has taken many key learnings, for instance, through exchange and communication in coaching groups with other entrepreneurs. “An idea, even if it is apparently good and feasible, has to survive a series of steps that cannot be ignored and may not be totally clear at the beginning”, says Marzullo.
Understanding the entrepreneurship context and ecosystem was one of the constraints that Eterea faced during the first steps of the project. As an advice, they recommend “not to take anything for granted even if some concepts are known and to be curious to keep growing”.