Vico Food Box started its journey on 3 September 2019. The company was founded in the Netherlands, and then returned to Italy, becoming a 100 percent Italian company.
"This year we almost doubled last year's turnover. But, of course, the road has not always been downhill," explains Gennaro Viscardi, co-founder of Vico Food Box along with Vittorio Colonna, Antonio Guarrera and Debora Celentano.
In a post on LinkedIn, the team explains what it's like to open a business in the Netherlands, some initial trepidation in doing so, and a piece of advice for those starting their own business from scratch.
"Starting a business in the Netherlands is definitely more practical and faster. Within a day, you can open your business at the KVK-Kamer van Koophandel (Chamber of Commerce, ed.), as well as a business account at any bank. The bureaucracy is very streamlined. The government's demand for taxes does not happen right away. In contrast, opening a business in Italy is very costly both in terms of money and time. The biggest difference is in the approach with companies, where the Dutch government encourages their growth, the Italian government actually complicates the entire process."
The coronavirus reshuffled the cards. "We wanted to come home, support the local area and use plastic-free packaging. And we did everything to achieve that. We officially became a 100 percent Italian company in 2021 (Cegua srl). We are still a stone's throw from the Naples-CAAN Food Center, but in an 800-square-meter warehouse, with attached refrigerated cell and outdoor areas. In addition, we now count on a team of more than 20 young people under 30, which is always growing."
"Italian bureaucracy has been and still is a worry, along with the difficulty of doing business and innovation in southern Italy, as it lacks a real start-up system dedicated to innovative and young entrepreneurs. "Fears can be overcome through specialization and continuous efforts to innovate, study and implement one's network in the community. A company that does not invest in innovation moves away from the context in which it lives, and from the needs and wants of consumers. We believe in innovation and look forward to experiencing many more new things."
"Here we are at Vico Food Box's third anniversary event. At only 33 years old, I still remain the oldest in the company, which is why there is so much creativity and desire to have fun. We hope to always and forever have a cheerful and positive mindset," says Gennaro, commenting on the photo above.
During their journey, the Vico Food Box team realized how much so many people esteem Italy for its culture and traditions. "We are proud to be able to promote and support products that are made in Italy. The next goal, on which we are working, is to push beyond European borders."
Advice for those starting from scratch?
"To have a watchful eye on management, to avoid getting into financial difficulties. This is often underestimated, because within a startup the co-founders have to do everything, trying to specialize in the shortest time possible, putting aside aspects that are crucial for business growth. Let's not forget that about 95 percent of startups fail within the first 4 years, and one of the reasons is precisely the failure to manage corporate control."
On the fall-winter period
"The year 2022 will be a unique year for the price increases in raw materials, including food and especially electricity, paper, and packaging materials. It is not going to be easy to move forward, but it is also a perfect time. As pointed out earlier, the companies that have very good economic and financial management control are forging ahead now, while most of the companies are going to close down. In a world where the most resilient win and stand, we are always on the podium and will make it through. How? By leaving customer prices unchanged, without increasing them by a penny."
"This may sound crazy, but barriers to enter the market are a marketing technique to get rid of all those companies that did not have a well-organized business. Covid-19's exponential highlighted those few good companies that offer the best service."
"For the winter we plan to grit our teeth and not raise prices, despite the risk of our margins hitting zero by going into negative balance. We want to make our customers really happy; we want them to understand and appreciate our commitment. We count on being efficient and effective to achieve zero product waste and zero waste of unnecessary energy. One example is the air conditioner in our office this summer set to 28°C, while last year it was set to 23°C. We hope that all our work and effort will be appreciated," concludes the team.
For more information: vicofoodbox.com