It is no secret that the world economy is in a rather bad shape. Every day brings new headlines of companies or countries in deep financial trouble and talks of the time frame needed to recover are enough to concern the most optimistic amongst us. In such a gloomy environment you have the choice to either wait for the storm to pass or to try and take your fate into your own hands. The second option is exactly what some young Italian citizens have elected to do.
Take the agricultural sector in Tuscany as an example. Not easy to make a living out of tending your own fields nowadays but it does offer a number of opportunities asking to be explored. If you are prepared to work hard and to be inventive it could very well pay off in the end. This reasoning has now started an interesting trend: If the customers do not or cannot come to you then go to the customers. Packing their vans to the hilt with top quality goods, these visionary men and women travel the Tuscan roads up and down the picturesque hills, bringing their products to their expanding clientele. Who do they visit? Mostly families too busy to complement their weekly shopping with fresh produce in between or inhabitants of remote villages, many of them older and without the necessary car that would take them to the nearest town. The majority of village shops have disappeared over the years and this new breed of entrepreneurs fill the gap in the market.
Another idea is to bring a specific product to an area where finding it might be difficult. Fish is the perfect illustration of that concept. If you live by the sea you will of course be spoiled for choice in the form of local fishermen or fish markets. But when you have made your home inland the sight of a refrigerated truck pulling up on the main square on market days will be very welcome.
Perfectly ripe, sun-kissed fruit and extra fresh vegetables that have just been pulled out of the soil are also proving a hit. One entrepreneur selling baskets of home grown produce saw his customer base triple simply through word of mouth. Regional specialties are popular too: olive oil, sausages, pasta, biscuits or jams, to name but a few.
These initiatives have turned struggling and often unemployed women and men into business people. They may not have come up with anything new; they have however re-invented themselves, finding pleasure and enthusiasm in their working days again.