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Case Study: Giacomo Zunino, Italy

1. Company Background


I was born in the countryside and I still own my childhood house and land there. Despite having moved and worked all my life in a company, I feel attached to the nature. I’m a very curious person, so in my last working years I developed an interest in apiculture, thanks to a colleague who already had some beehives as hobby. After retirement, I attended a regionally fund course for apiculture: there’s a lot of interest around promoting this activity since the growing alarm of bees mortality and the job opportunities it could offer. So, after achieving the certification, I bought my first 4 hives in order to start my activity and get practice. I was also afraid that the bees couldn’t tolerate the long and cold winter of my region, so I chose a more aggressive but resistant variety. I have chosen not to move the bees to follow the blooming, but to focus just on some local flowers honey production. This means reduced production and less honey extraction cycles but also on reduced stress and promiscuity between bees. Pests and the destroying attacks of the hornet wasp, which is creating enormous damages in my region, has led me to the decision to focus on the wealth of my bees rather than on their productivity. Despite this, the production has started very soon and in the first year I obtained my first 30 kilos of the appreciated chestnut honey. This first production has been used mainly to test the people’s opinion and the following years I invested money in buying some other beehives. Some of them have replaced the weak families that weren’t able to overcome winter or maladies. Now I have doubled my production and, as I am getting more experienced, I am thinking about selling propolis and royal jelly.


2. Have you worked with our organisation previously


No, I haven’t. I found it very engaging and interesting.


3. What were the highlights of the course? Strengths?


I have found very useful the subdivision in modules which allowed me to focus or go back to the topics which interested me most. In particular, I was very interested in deepening the opportunities of e-commerce for my business.


4. Impact - How has being on the course helped you as an individual?


The course was a very good occasion to learn something new and be up to date on topics which are now central in business and society in general.


5. Impact - How has being on the course helped your business?


It has given me the opportunity to know more about how to digitalize my small enterprise, understand the opportunities and make a comparison between costs and benefits of innovating my business.


6. Is there anything you do now in your business that you wouldn’t have otherwise done?


I wouldn’t have considered to sell my products online.


7. Would you recommend the course/online platform to other people?


Yes


8. Have you had any recent successes in your business?


I have increased my production and my honey is very appreciated and always sold out.


9. Any new innovations in your business, particularly regarding digital technologies?


I am considering the using of IoT systems to monitor my beehives temperature and humidity.

10. Any advice that you would offer other businesses


Overcome prejudices towards new technology. They could help small as well as big businesses.





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