Turning a part-time job into a business - Interview with the co-founder of Le Cico

In a seminar called “InnovAction Lab”(www.innovactionlab.org, three Italian girls - Monica, Giulia and Valentina met each. They worked together on the start-up project of the course. Inspired by their own experience and ambition to make something big, they decided to turn their idea into a real business. With the help of “Luiss Enlabs” start-ups incubator (www.luissenlabs.com), they launched Le Cicogne, a company and web portal that matches demands and supplies of babysitting service in Italy.

Below is our interview with Monica, the co-founder of Le Cicogne. (www.lecicogne.net)

What drove you (and your co-founders) to start Le Cicogne?

Passion and CARPE DIEM.

Le Cicogne is a web portal that matches demand and supply of services such as babysitting, baby&teen shuttle services, baby&teen tutoring and baby party.

I was the first user of my own service. At that time, I was a student looking for flexible babysitting jobs. It was very difficult to find jobs that can fit my schedule. The only way seems to be receiving as many job offers as I can so I have the chance to choose the most suitable one. Obviously this wasn't possible – there won’t be so many parents contacting me if they didn’t hear from another parent that I am available to work. I discovered that the easiest way to look for a babysitter is by word of mouth.

Thanks to a family I was working for I created a new service: the “baby-taxi”, a shuttle service that picks up children from, for example, their sport lesson, and brings them home. It is more than just a “taxi service”, it is a “sitting service” with the car. My responsibilities include making sure the child sits properly, helping them dress after their lesson and having fun with them in the meantime. The job is flexible and only took me three hours per week. So I decided to look for other parents to offer the same service. The parents I already knew introduced me to other families. I started to receive so many calls that I could no longer afford all the work. So I started to share it with my friends. Later we launched a web portal to introduce our business Le Cicogne and facilitate the demands and supplies of the services.

There is more than one reason why my co-founders and I started Le Cicogne. To put them all together, I would say it is the need of a flexible job, of money, of letting people know about my service, and the desire to prove ourselves.

What was the biggest challenge you experienced in the journey of Le Cicogne and how did you overcome it?

I think there is no thing as big as the present and the future that we are living in right now with Le Cicogne. What I mean is that if I look back, I see things way more easier than they are right now, which I think is good. Because it means that we are going in the right way. We are becoming a real company with real difficulties and obstacles.

Some big challenges I have: one, Italian bureaucracy, setting up a company in Italy always means a lot of time, money and legal difficulties. Second, how to transform a start-up into a solid company.

Is there anything that you would have done otherwise?

No. If I could go back in time right now, I would do everything in a different way, but with the knowledge I have now, otherwise I would probably have made the same choices and mistakes.

What is your vision for Le Cicogne in the next three years?

We hope to receive an offer from FB as the one they did to Whatsapp!No, just joking, I see it becoming stronger, a solid company that gets bigger day by day. For sure I see Le Cicogne on the whole Italian territory. 

What advice do you have for young tech entrepreneurs?

I will tell them: START.

Don't look back on what has already past. Look forward. I did it and it is amazing! You won't repeat the same mistake twice; you will realize what you love and how you want it.

 

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Brains behind Le Cicogne

Monica is 25 years old and she is from Rome.
Giulia is 24. She studied Management.
Valentina is 27 and she has a degree in IT.

 

 

 

 

 

Author: CYFI Innovations Team

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Unlocking Creativity through Playing - Interview with Matteo di Pascale

This week we would like to present you our interview with Matteo di Pascale, a young Italian writer, designer and artist. He is the creator of Intùiti Creative Cards. Introduced as “a deck of cards for Creativity” and “serious game”, Intùiti aims to provide people with an effective tool for brainstorming and to spur creative thinking.

What drove you to create Intùiti?

Matteo di Pascale

Passion. I designed Intùiti because I thought there was a gap in the way creativity is dealt. At the university they teach it as mechanical methods – brainstorming, mid maps, etc. – which are widely used in agencies. And I've always believed that creativity is something more than a simple equation. That's why I put my efforts in an unconventional tool such as Intùiti. Then, after having realized that it was a very difficult product to place, I tried to raise the funds for a first production through the platform   Kickstarter.com. The result was very satisfying: I got the resources to produce the paper version of Intùiti and to develop the Intùiti app for both iOS and Android.

What was the biggest challenge you experienced in the journey of Intùiti? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is always not to give up. This journey started almost 3 years ago and it's easy to think: «Ok, this is not working. Let's just move on». I've been on the edge of resignation several times, and it's all a matter of finding the energy to keep going. You just have to believe in what you are doing and continue working: a good idea is not enough; you have to sweat really hard.

Is there anything that you would have done otherwise with Intùiti?

You learn from your mistakes, so they are pretty useful. I only have some regrets for what regards the level of stress: sometimes I think I could have handled myself better.

What is your vision for Intùiti in the next three years?

Intùit should be produced by a publisher, possibly for both the Italian and the international market, and communicated in two different ways: for tarot lovers, as a new vision of the classical cards, and for creatives, as a peculiar tool for inspiration.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

Be sincere with yourself. If you don't like your product, change it or drop it. Imagine to be working on that for the next 5 years: if you love it, it would be an amazing adventure (also if it's not successful); otherwise you are just wasting your energy.

Intùiti

 

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The Romani People and School in Italy

A historical perspecive on the Roma minority in Italy. Insights upon their culture, educational problems of children and youth.

Around 160.000 Romanis live in Italy today, divided in two main groups, the Roma and the Sinti.

Romanis presence in Italy dates back to the Middle Ages, and has concerned the whole peninsula, even though since the 1960s they have been settling more and more around middle/large urban areas.

Around half of the Romanis have Italian citizenship, while the other half is composed, for one third, by migrants from ex-Yugoslavia, either coming directly from there, or who descend from second/third generation immigrants; the remaining two thirds are mainly Romanian Roma...

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