Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sirolli Program announced for HUON VALLEY

         Lara Giddings ~ Premier

The Premier, Lara Giddings, today announced that the Huon Valley region would be added as a pilot site for the Ernesto Sirolli economic development model.

Ms Giddings said the extension of the trial had been made possible by George Town and Scottsdale agreeing to partner on the project.

"The decision to pool resources for the North East roll-out has made it possible to bring the benefits of Dr Ernesto Sirolli's innovative approach to economic development to the Huon Valley region,including Geeveston," Ms Giddings said.

"Like the other towns identified for the pilot of this project, the Huon Valley region has been hard-hit by the down-turn in the forest industry.

"Dr Sirolli has already been working in Smithton, George Town and Scottsdale to identify new business opportunities with an emphasis on creating more jobs.

"We are currently working with the Huon Valley Council to convene a local community forum in the coming days to introduce Dr Sirolli to the people of the Huon Valley.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sirolli Enterprise for the people

as reported by Tim Walker of 936 ABC Hobart

Earlier this year the state government announced the $950 000 investment in community enterprise facilitation by the Sirolli Institute, for the Northern Tasmanian towns of Scotsdale, Georgetown and Smithton. Yesterday it was announced that the Huon Valley region shall be included in the program that aims to draw out the entrepreneurs in the community, and identify new business opportunities with an emphasis on creating more jobs.

Ernesto Sirolli in Tasmania to facillitate entrepreneurial activity in regional areas.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Blaenau Gwent firms offered skills help by volunteers

By Andy Roberts BBC News

Moe Forouzan (right) visits local firms to find out what help they need

Aspiring businesses in one of Wales' unemployment blackspots are being offered skills and advice by local volunteers under a new support scheme.
Effect Blaenau Gwent visits local firms to learn about areas of expertise they are lacking, from marketing to bookkeeping, finance or premises.
It then goes back to a panel of local volunteers to see if they have the necessary skills or resources to help.
The idea of Enterprise Facilitiation was first tried in rural Australia.
Devised by Dr Ernesto Sirolli, the aim is to engage the local community in supporting new firms and would-be entrepreneurs with their skills and expertise.
One of the key figures in Blaenau Gwent is Moe Forouzan, the project's "enterprise facilitator", backed up by a grant-supported board representing the private, public and voluntary sectors.
Working on the move, without an office of his own, the former council economic development officer from Abertillery serves as a point of contact for local companies seeking help.

He said: "We have a lot of people approach us that say, 'I'm stuck, I don't know where to go, I need support in marketing I need help in finance, I'm finding it difficult to find premises'.
"This is where then I tap into our local network - this network can specialise in so many areas from marketing, to accountancy, to finance, to general business issues that any business may need support in.

"The aim of it is to create a robust economy where we can create jobs and watch our businesses develop and grow.
The scheme involves a 60-strong panel of local volunteers with different skills and expertise who meet monthly to hear of the needs of firms and to discuss how they can help.

The scheme aims to support sustainable business

Mr Forouzan said if no-one on the panel has the right skills, they will try to put the client in touch with someone else locally who can help them, often free of charge - anything from a marketing plan to a second hand till.

"To quote Dr Sirolli, the death of the entrepreneur is solitude - that's why a lot of these firms fail," he says.

'Build a team'

"We're saying, concentrate on your passion - the product or the service - and we'll try and build a team around you."
It is thought to be the first scheme in Wales based on Enterprise Facilitation, which has already been introduced in countries on every continent since the first project in western Australia began in 1985.
So far, in its first year of operation, Effect Blaenau Gwent has helped nearly 140 different clients, ranging from people with business start-up ideas to established small firms and social enterprises.
Mr Forouzan said the project was in its early days but plans to hold a celebration of its work so far at an event in Ebbw Vale in April.
"My passion is to make Blaenau Gwent a better place - we're always hearing about the negative things," he says.
"I want to bring jobs to the area and to help people with ideas.
"A lot of people are quite lost at the moment - in Blaenau Gwent there's increasing hardship and almost an anti-enterprise culture.
"We have to break through those barriers."

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Ernesto Sirolli to help transform regional economies in Tasmania

announcement by: Laura Giddings, MP Premier

Regional communities will be given the skills and expertise to grow and diversify their economies with the help of community development pioneer Dr Ernesto Sirolli.
The Premier, Lara Giddings, said $950,000 had been committed to implement Dr Sirolli’s successful economic development model in Smithton, Scottsdale and George Town.

Ms Giddings said The Parliamentary Secretary for the North West Economy, Brenton Best, had been instrumental in bringing Dr Sirolli to Tasmania.

“Dr Sirolli was first brought to Tasmania by the Tasmanian Council of Social Service in 2010. Mr Best subsequently invited him to return to Tasmania and visit these regional areas last year.

“By harnessing the passion, determination, intelligence, and resourcefulness of local people, Dr Sirolli is able to produce remarkable results,” Ms Giddings said.

“In 1985 he helped transform Esperence in Western Australia, which had been suffering from major economic restructuring similar to regional communities across Tasmania.

“Since then more than 250 communities across the world have engaged Dr Sirolli to help transform the skills and enthusiasm of their population into real business opportunities.”

Ms Giddings said Smithton, George Town and Scottsdale had been particularly hard-hit by the downturn in the forest industry and pressure on major manufacturing operations arising from the high Australian dollar.

“The Government has been working closely with the Scottsdale community following the closure of its softwood sawmills and I believe the Sirrolli model will complement the work that has been done by the Dorset Economic Development group and the local council.

“We also know that the George Town community is facing a period of uncertainty. We remain hopeful that we will see construction of a pulp mill which will create thousands of new jobs but it is also important that we support and nurture other business opportunities.

“These communities are suffering due to the downturn in the forest industry and the pressure on our major manufacturing operations arising from the high exchange rate.

“But they still have so much to offer, and nobody should ever write them off.

“I know the people in these communities. They are hard-working and resilient.”

To assist in the transformation the State Government will fund a permanent on the ground presence in these communities over the next two years.

Read More:

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Conversation with Marise Cipriani

as interviewed by Tonya Bina - Granby, CO

How does a young girl from the megalopolis of São Paulo, Brazil, end up owning a ski resort in rural Colorado?Marise Cipriani grew up in a family of four girls, but she — the third born — was set to become an educated businesswoman who followed in the steps of her grandfather and father, two highly successful entrepreneurs.Her father founded and owned the third largest airline in Brazil, TransBrasil; her grandfather, of Italian descent, started one of the largest meat and food processing companies in the country, originally Sadia, now through a 2009 merger called Brasil Foods, which has since grown to be a global operation.Cipriani refused to accept the notion that women don't belong in the male-driven business world of her time. She started working in her father's office at the age of 11 and worked her way up to eventually own her own advertising and marketing agency in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. She didn't truly learn English until she was in her 20s, when her own family relocated to Miami. The Ciprianis have two children, Melissa and Gui, who in their early 30s share time between Brazil and the states.

Today, this savvy businesswoman is the owner and operator of Granby Ranch , the founder of the nonprofit organization Kapoks, which is dedicated to Sirolli Institute principles for fledgling entrepreneurs, and a key figure in bringing this concept to the town of Granby.

Tell me about your family:My (paternal) grandfather came from a very, very poor family. He had to leave school when he was in second grade because he had to help his father work in a hayfield. He was so poor his first pair of shoes was when he was 9 years old. But he was a brilliant businessperson and an entrepreneur at heart. Very young, without going to school or anything, 19, 20 years old, he started a business. He had this idea of getting pigs, in a small town in the middle of Santa Catarina, like a small town in the middle of Nebraska, he would fatten the pigs, then go three days in the train, sell the pigs in São Paulo, buy goods he didn't have in the little town, buy flour, plates, then sell them.Brasil Foods today process 450,000 poultry per hour, it has 115,000 employees, it exports all over the world. It has great trademark recognition in a lot of countries.Did your father go into this business?My grandfather wanted my father to go into this business, but my father was crazy about aviation. (My grandfather) sent my father to a boarding school in São Paulo, where the airplanes would land at one of the airports. He got absolutely crazy about aviation, and wanting to be a pilot, became an incredible pilot, and he started an airline, TransBrasil. It doesn't exist today anymore. The airline was such a big part of him. We always joked that the airline was the fifth daughter.My grandfather never wanted to hear about the airline because he wanted my father to be an engineer, not a pilot, but my father had this great idea, transporting the goods that he was producing by airplane. He made the airplane (Douglas DC-3s from the war) half passenger and half cargo, to be able to sell (the food) fresh. There were no roads or refrigerated trucks in those times, so to be able to fly in a couple of hours, Sadia had a great boom, it suddenly had a big market, because it was able to sell to São Paulo. vvvvvThe reason I'm saying all that is because those two men were very important for me as entrepreneurs. When I think about the program we're doing about enterprise facilitation here, I think I'm lucky, because I had examples in business.I always wanted work when I was growing up. I was the one wired like this, my sisters didn't want to work.It started at 11. It started with my father, I would go to work at the airline. My first job was serving cafezinho in the office. After that, I graduated to being a filing person. And then when I went to start college, I went at night to be able to work during the day. And I started in marketing and advertisement for the airline. Then eventually I had my own ad agency, in São Paulo, at 21.What was it called? Intermarketing. It was fun, I loved it.

Everything I learned I learned working. I think my father ended up learning to respect me as a business person. I would just show up in meetings because I needed to learn. The last conversation I had with my dad, I was talking about Granby Ranch, and (Marise chokes back tears) he said, ‘I don't know how you do it.' I said, ‘I learned from you.'So, he really respected you..He did. But it took him awhile. I don't know if I told you but I am a pilot also. And my father was an amazing pilot.Did your dad teach you?He didn't. It was funny because he didn't want me to take my pilot's license. It's not something a girl would do, you know. So I just did it. And I never told him. I did it when I was living in Miami. I wanted to learn on the same kind of airplane that he learned on 40 years before, which was a J-3 Cub. So one day he arrived, and I said I have a surprise for you. So I took him to this little airport and said we're going to fly, and we went flying. It was special. It was really neat.

I met my husband at 20 at TransBrasil. He worked in the legal department. Then he was transferred to the United States, and it was only supposed to be for one year because TransBrasil wanted to open a purchasing office in Miami for spare parts for airplanes. So we came for a year, but then one year became two, and I started working in sales for the airline. We made connection with Pan Am; but eventually TransBrasil started flying to the states. The airline ceased around 1990. That's when I started to coming to Colorado.How did you come to know Colorado?When Gui was about to turn 3, we went to Italy, and a friend of ours said let's go skiing. I had never seen snow, I lived in Florida, and I'm from Brazil, I maybe saw snow in New York a little bit, but not snow (sitting on the club level upstairs in Base Camp One, Marise gestures to the snowy slopes at Granby Ranch's ski basin).I was the one who fell in love with skiing. So I came back to Florida, and I had a friend who was a skier, and I asked where is the best place to ski in the U.S., and he said Vail, Colorado.We made a booking, and we ended up in Beaver Creek. I really started learning to ski, my kids did too, and we fell in love with it and ended up buying a place in Beaver Creek. I was one of those fanatics. I would be the first one on the lifts, and the last one off. I did workshops, I did lessons, I had goals to do all Birds of Prey. I spent one of my summers in Beaver Creek with my children, and a lot of nephews, the whole family in Brazil.It was a good time to buy property, so I started buying property in Beaver Creek, and started building. I had a couple of spec homes. So I guess that's when I became a developer without even knowing. Because we were doing all that, a broker in the Beaver Creek area said there is this place for sale in Grand County, do you want to look?

Here (Granby Ranch) is to create a place so people, family, would have the same experience I had with my children in summers and winters in Colorado in Beaver Creek. Really, it's what I think were the best memories I have. When I look at the pictures of the time of us hiking and of us spending time together, and skiing, it was so amazing, it was something I wanted to build again. It's a feeling I can't really describe. Like when you have a memory so strong on you that it brings you happiness just thinking about it ... This connection between us, family and nature.And what is your husband's involvement with Granby Ranch?He doesn't unfortunately. When we started, it was for us to have our life project, but things happened and there were things he had to be in Brazil for. When we both left the airline, my husband started mining; he is a partner in mining, several mines. The only thing with my husband and I is we have an incredible relationship. It's funny because he lives there and I live here, but we talk I think sometimes more than couples that are together all the time. How did Kapoks come about?My husband just started a new mining project, in the northernmost part of Brazil, in the state of Amapa. When I got there, I was devastated with the town. All sorts of problems. Basic stuff, from sewer running down the streets with 3- and 4-year-olds stepping on it, youth prostitution, lots of problems. I said we need to do something about it. We can't start a project that will be here for 20 years and not think about this town being part of it. It's the same thing here, we are all community, you can't separate one from another. I wanted to create a nonprofit, which is Kapoks, which doesn't have any funding yet. (It was set up to have profit-sharing with the mining operation) but they don't have any profit yet. The town is called Lourenço, or St. Lawrence, which is the saint that protects the miners.Sirolli for me, it's just perfect. For me as a very young person, there were two things very clear in my mind. I love business, and love doing things for people. So with those two things together, it's a way of helping people without belittling them, and it's promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. I want to do something with these women so they feel empowered, especially with the amount of prostitution they have there. Walking down the village, I saw an image that is so strong for me. There is a little girl, her hair is curly, she's in the middle of the street. And she is standing, and in front of her there are three chairs, and there's little kids sitting there, and she is teaching them. It was so amazing to see, she has something of her, we just need to do something so that it doesn't die, so when she grows she can be a teacher, or have a school.I always keep that image in my head. It was very powerful.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Entrepreneurship the means to get good things done, says Ernesto Sirolli

by Russ Grayson…

I’M FILLED WITH INSPIRATION as I write these words after spending two hours with about 60 others at Town Hall House in the presence of Ernesto Sirolli.
I first encountered Ernesto in the ’90s through his book, Ripples in the Zambesi, which I think I bought from Permaculture International Journal when it was based next to the Lismore City Farm.
Aid can be anything but
The title of Ernosto’s book comes from his time working for an Italian NGO in Africa. Without consulting the local people who the NGO was supposedly helping, they planted a tomato crop on the banks of the Zambesi River. But one morning they woke to a surprise… all of those tomatoes they had planted… they were gone… as if some animal… some tomatovore… had eaten sneaked up and eaten them in the night. But where were the clues as to the fate of the missing tomatoes? There was nothing… all there was were ripples out there in the river as if there was something just below the surface… but surely that had nothing to do with the disappeared tomatoes? Though… just what was that out there? What it was, was a wallow of hippos, their big eyes just breaking the surface… hippos no longer hungry but replete after a good and rather unanticipated feed of freshly-planted tomatoes. The NGO workers had failed to do the obvious—ask the locals about local conditions, and whether there was anything out there on the plains or in the Zambezi that would look kindly on a feed of fresh vege fruit.
As Ernesto tells the story, their misadventure with the tomato crop was the start of his seeing the whole aid enterprise as a bit of a misadventure. Disillusion quickly followed , disillusion with foreigners telling locals what they needed, what was good for them, not even asking local people if they wanted to receive aid.
Ernesto is a passionate man and he tells the story with a great deal of emotion. Listening, you come to understand how his experience in the aid industry was formative of his later work. Aid in general, he said, has been a disaster.
You don’t show up with a briefcase full of solutions when you do not know the problems
Those ripples in the Zambesi was what Ernesto started his Sydney Town Hall House presentation with and he expanded on the aid theme by warning against turning up in some lesser developed country and assuming you have the knowledge, the right even, to start to tell locals what they should do for their own good. Who do you think you are to do this, he asked.
Two things have to happen before you engage in aid work, said Ernesto. First, you have to be invited into the community. Second, you have to listen to people. This means disregarding any belief you entertain that you have the answers when you barely understand the problem. When people ask for your help, then you ask them how you can help. “You don’t show up with a briefcase full of solutions when you do not know the problems”.
But how do you get invited into communities in other countries? “You do something fantastic in your own neighbourhood”, he said. “You do something here in Sydney that people in other cities will call you and ask how you did that… then they will say ‘Please come and teach us’”.
As I sat there listening to Ernesto, that message about starting aid work at home, where you live, resonated with me because I had heard it before. That would have been around the time I had the good fortune to encounter Ernesto’s book on the shelves there in the Lismore office of Permaculture International Journal.
The person I heard it from was Badri Dahal, at the time the manager of the indigenous NGO, Institute for Sustainable Agriculture Nepal (INSAN). INSAN is one of those largely forgotten permaculture projects, you don’t hear much of it now, but it was pioneering and it had an impact of those of us who had the fortunate chance to meet Badri. What Badri said was similar to what Ernesto told the audience that day—start by helping yourself, in your own country, before dashing off imagining you can help people in less developed countries. It was a warning against allowing a very limited amount of knowledge imparted by a permaculture design or other course, especially if there is little practical work to follow it up, leading to the belief that it would be sufficient to teach people how to grow food or to do something else with their lives. It’s like the cliche says—a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
As for dashing off to help people in lesser developed countries, Ernesto put it this way: “If people don’t want to be helped you leave them alone. This should be the first principle of aid”.
Working in Australia
Ernesto is a middle aged man with thick, wavy hair and a strong Italian accent despite his years in Australia and, currently, of living in the US. Dressed in his suit and tie, he looks like someone who has just left a business meeting.
That might not be an erroneous assumption, for his work with the Sirolli Institute is training people to set up businesses, whether for-profit social businesses or not-for-profit social enterprise, as a means of making things happen.
He tells the audience the story of his enterprise facilitation work in Esperance, where he facilitated the setting up of small businesses when the town was headed full speed along the economic downhill run following government limitations on the tuna fishery that put people out of work. It was a cascading disaster, as he tells it. Catch limitations meant fewer fish which affected the fish processing plant which led to redundencies which flowed through to the other businesses in town and suddenly once-employed people found themselves in poverty. They couldn’t sell up and move to Perth because their properties lost value as the town’s economic prospects nosedived.
Council staff and other social gatekeepers explained to him that people in Esperance didn’t want to help themselves and, anyway, ” …no one wanted to do anything. The government employment service said I would make a fool of myself… people in Esperance didn’t have any ideas of heir own”, explained Ernesto. In the end, it was these gatekeepers who proved devoid of ideas and imagination when Ernesto facilitated new, small businesses among people who had lost their livelihoods.
For Ernesto, it started in 1975 when he picked up a book by an English economist. This book, he explained, chaged his life… it changed how he saw the world and how he acted in it. By the time he reached the last page and closed the book, his life was set on a new course, a course that he is still following. What book was this that could change lives so easiy? None other than EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful.
If evidence that Schumacher’s messages are as relevant today as they were when he wrote the book in the late 1960s, there is none better than it having been in print for all of those years from first publication. It affected many of us and gave us a new framework through which to act in the world, and it led to these setting up of the Intermediate Technology Development Group in the UK.
Following his disillusion with the aid industry and long before he landed in Western Australia, Ernesto had gone to South Africa to study and here he came under the influence of thinkers like Maslow, Rogers, Fromm and others who influenced Humanistic Psychology. Coming to Australia, he was supervised in his PhD, itelf influenced by Schumacher’s ideas, by the now-noted urban planning educator and author, Peter Newman. Newman has written extensively on planning and sustainability, including his recent book, Resilient Cities. Ernesto’s studies led him to the belief that people have a wish to improve themselves in some way, to be a better person. This, Ernesto says, is not culture-specific but is universal and is to do with self-actualisation.
Changing the world one passion at a time’
It is not ideas that change the world, according to Ernesto. It is passion. And you find this even in ghettoes, he says, citing the Esperance example for his notion of ‘changing the world one passion at a time’.
Those working in the social sector know of the perils of reliance on grants to keep their projects going and some, such as social entrepreneur, Nic Frances (who described the evolution of his thinking and his work in his book, The End of Charity), realised that the small business model, whether that was a for-profit business with social goals, what is known as a ‘social business’, or a not-for-profit social enterprise, offered a solution to getting off the grant applciation writing cycle.
In urban development, he says, he would like to see ‘urban hubs’, centres for enterprise facilitation in new developments where we can help each other find what we need. This would be a convivial intervention in the urban environment “where people get to know each other”.
This is Ernesto’s realisation too, and in presenting his ideas to the audience he said there are three things necessary to setting up and running a business, whether for-profit or a social enterprise:
the product or service has to be ‘beautiful’
marketing and sales have to be ‘beautiful’
financial management has to be ‘beautiful’.
Business is team work
The challenge: an individual cannot do all of these things themselves. They might try, but unless their passion is in all of them, those lacking passion are likely to be only part-done. The implication of this is that small business is teamwork, it is a social activity. Look at the well known businesses that were garage start-ups and you find that two to four people were involved.
“Form the team”, Ernesto tells the audience. “Don’t force people to do what they dont like”. This suggests the wisdon of allowing specialisation. He suggests we can now find people with the needed skills online.
“Even the word ‘entrepreneur’ has been hijacked. It is not necessarily to do with business. What it really means is an entrepreneur is someone with initiative, someone who seeks opportunity”.
To help people make things happen and to fulfill his proposal that “the more of us that create the future the better we all are”, Ernesto offers the Enterprise Facilitation model of training. In urban development, he says, he would like to see ‘urban hubs’, centres for enterprise facilitation in new developments where we can help each other find what we need”. This would be a convivial intervention in the urban environment “where people get to know each other”.
Addressing the question about urban development of a council staffer in the audience, Ernesto said he ” …despairs of rules set up never to be changed… planners are the people who stop things happening… rules are made to be changed… we need to facilitate, not regulate… use your power in your work to do this”.
Reclaim the economy
The economy and the language of economics has been hijacked and we need to democratise these things. according to Ernesto.
“Even the word ‘entrepreneur’ has been hijacked. It is not necessarily to do with business. What it really means is an entrepreneur is someone with initiative, someone who seeks opportunity“. The word’s association with the excesses of the 1980s and the business eladers o that time has given it a negative meaning.
“Entrepreneurs are the pioneers, the explorers, the adventurers…
Ernesto says it is necessary to understand the difference between entrepreneurship and management because the two groups see the world differently and act differently in it.
“Entrepreneurs are the pioneers, the explorers, the adventurers. Managers are the settlers who come with their seeds and herds”.
In referring to the role of entrepreneurs, Ernesto’s closing remarks were motivating: “Break the monopolies… find suport… and storm the citadel”.
From public servant to civic entrepreneur
I asked Ernesto a question during the time set aside for that after his talk. It was this: How can we working in local government adopt roles as ‘civic entrepreneurs‘, which is like a social entrepreneur role within councils?
What he said was that we can become facilitators of what communities need and in that way make things happen.
It reminded me of something I had thought about some time ago—the difference, on being asked whether some idea should go ahead, between asking ‘why?’ and asking ‘why not?’. One response seeks justification while the other seeks ways to make it real.
I thought Ernesto’s talk would be inspiring and that is exactly how it turned out. Now it’s for us to decide whether we’re social entrepreneurs or managers, for there’s a dire need for people who are good at either. Entrepreneurs and managers are a natural team and we need to realise which we are at so that all can work for the common good.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Dr Sirolli writes new book on Trinity of Management®

If you thought 'Ripples for the Zambezi' was thought provoking business sense then don't miss out on ordering your copy of Dr. Sirolli's latest book: HOW TO START A BUSINESS & IGNITE YOUR LIFE - A Simple Guide to Combining Business Wisdom with Passion.

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