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Michela Floris

The scene of a further contrast following the night that Lorenzo spent outside to summon the rain based on what he learned from the books.

Family businesses have a lot to teach.

Family businesses represent 90% of the entrepreneurial models spread on the global territory, and, therefore, they represent the backbone of the economy. Italy, in particular, boasts virtuous examples and important small family businesses that in time became established businesses on national and international level. According to the Economist, in a report published in 2015, small and medium-sized businesses are the true heart of the economy: markets, craft shops, tourist activities and so on; differing in their motivation and sectors but all united in the family management and the values that underlie in it.

In a time of economic crisis, where the big businesses struggle to stay on their feet, sunken by debt with the banks, small familiar businesses are virtuous examples, examples to follow, at which big businesses should watch, in today’s difficult times. So, what do we have to learn from the small family business model?

Income yes, but with foresight.

Owning and keeping something are not the same thing. It is not enough to be the owner of a business. One must always be thinking about its own future, the survival of the business on the long run, so to its value over time, to the income of today and mostly tomorrow. That’s how the small businesses take care of the firm and solid foundations of a farsighted business, which looks beyond, because it is focused on the immediate profitable aspect, for sure, but also on the longevity of the familiar economic system that, in the case of the small and medium-sized businesses, relies on the family succession, the passing of the generational baton that provides the survival over time. What really matters is resilience, which is even more relevant than the result.

For every business, a distinctive story.

There’s another aspect to close the circle. Small and medium-sized businesses have a trademark. They’re characterised by the values, the peculiarities of the product and the particularities in the familiar management, by the unique and distinctive message with which they convey the entrepreneurial history which belongs to that family. The knowledge and abilities of an efficient, collaborative, dynamic team work able to easily reach the prefixed tasks thanks to the old school values: trust, thrift, careful management of the resources, patience and the vigil wait for signals of change, of improvement which a business can reach thanks to sacrifice, challenge, courage and commitment.

From reality to fiction: the generational passage told by The Shifters.

The Shifters becomes a pretext to talk about the generational shift in the small and medium-sized businesses. It is not the only hidden research in the images of the short film. The researches of the University were inspiring on different aspects, from the screenplay to the scenography, and this one as well as the others has been one among those that have determined the relationship that links the characters.

Bruno and Lorenzo incarnate the complex dynamics of the generational shift in their simple daily life.
Lorenzo is the metaphor of the new generations, he helps his grandpa with the activities of the business but at the same time dreams of a new world that he never saw. His grandpa, instead, is an old authoritative man, with great experience; he represents the figure of the founder of the business. The dialectic between these parts is very strong. The ideas are opposed, they are in contrast until the breach, the argument, but they always tend to re-join. The old generations know that sooner or later they will have to give the baton to the new ones. The conflict is destined to be resolved because the goal to be reached is common: the growth and the development of the business.

Discover more about The Shifters

Maria Chiara Di Guardo – pro-rector for innovation and territory, Micaela Morelli – pro-rector for research and Roberta Vanni – Director of CESAR tell the dynamics that have led to the realisation of a crossmedial project about the third mission of University of Cagliari.

Watch the project’s trailer

There’s always something fascinating behind change. An obstacle course that talks about our future. Telling the world is our mission.

The Shifters

Telling the research: out mission.

Learn more

Sustainable development: the role of the Shifters inside the community strategy.
A story full of science twist and turns.
Why a Third mission project.


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