Accomplishments, future challenges and initiatives in progress for the new season beginning at the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park in Loppiano.
The year 2022 had closed with an increase in revenues and a decrease in operating loss, despite the contracting real estate market. “This is the best result we’ve ever had,” comments Rebeca Gómez Tafalla, CEO of E. di C. SpA, the benefit company that manages the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park. “It is the result of careful management and improvement of the services offered. But that’s not enough for us: our goal is to reach a break-even situation as soon as possible.”
If one thinks that the “core business,” the main activity of the Industrial Park, is renting out its spaces to companies, entrepreneurs and professionals, there is much more behind it. Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, in 2002, saw in it a project that, transcending the boundaries of the economy, could be, with the whole of Loppiano, a living witness of communion, of unity: “Going against the current of the common mentality, it will have to witness, together with the whole Mariapolis, as a blueprint of a ‘united world’ where love reigns.”
Inaugurated in 2006 as a point of convergence for Italian companies adhering to the Economy of Communion (EoC) project, today the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park has become a reference point for many other entities. Explains Gomez: “Alongside the the School of Civil Economy,the organizing committee of The Economy of Francescowhich we are proud to host, we have also opened up in recent years to entrepreneurs and companies that have not formally adhered to the Economy of Communion, but that subscribe to our guidelines, inspired by those values and principles. This has allowed us to reach 90 percent of occupied spaces.”
One would think that it could be a compromise between ideal motive and sustainability. “Not exactly. With all these other entrepreneurs there is mutual exchange: living the culture of giving, reciprocity often creates beneficial synergies for all parties,” the CEO clarifies.
Alongside the main activity, E. di C. SpA offers conference spaces, courses and schools in presence and online. In October 2023, the advanced training course, entitled “Social Doctrine of the Church: Roots, Present and Future Scenarios,” organized with the School of Civil Economy, will take place.
The third Hackathon aimed at third- and fourth-year high school students is scheduled for Nov. 24, 2023. “We will challenge them on how to put the digital world at the service of the community and the territory. This year it will be dedicated to fashion and will be carried out in collaboration with a local company. It will aim to activate an open laboratory for experimenting with entrepreneurial ideas, with a focus on women.”
“We dream of making this Industrial Park an incubation center for civil economy and communion businesses so that we can increasingly be at the service of the vitality of the many young people who informally knock on our door today to seek advice and accompaniment,” Gomes further adds. Collaboration also continues with Sophia University Institute through internships, university research and the political training course “The Polyhedron,” carried out under the patronage of the City of Figline and Incisa Valdarno.
To support and complement the main activities, E. di C. SpA had taken over the management of the bar since January 18, 2022. “For us it is much more than an ancillary service of catering or coffee breaks. The café is the ‘town square’ of the Industrial Park, where we build relationships with each other, with clients, visitors, and where we generate community. It is also a place of inclusion where, in collaboration with social services, placements of disadvantaged-differently-abled workers are happening. In addition, we aim to ensure that it can increasingly become a place of inclusion and innovation,” Gomez tells us.