NAME: Veronica Scopelliti
POSITION: Conny: Owner of 2 Kindergarten
My Background and Career
After graduating, I moved to Tuscany and began my career in the public school. Teaching has always been my dream and I have always liked being in contact with children. Ever since I was a child myself, I have wanted to open my own school, be like Maria Montessori, and create a welcoming environment that is suitable for children and their families.
In 2008 I became the mother of a beautiful girl and that dream that I had left locked in the closet for so many years, came back to me again. Starting it was not easy. Trying to understand the bureaucratic aspect of the education system was devastating: requesting documents upon documents and talking to people who knew less than me about kindergartens and pre-schools. Everyone told me to drop the project but I didn’t – I informed myself, believed in my project and went forward. After many years and many complications, my belief in myself gives me great satisfaction. Our structure can accommodate almost one hundred children, and we currently have a waiting list. The pre-school is a private school, and with the kindergarten I have developed various projects. With the latter we are working with the Commune of Prato and the Financial Guard, and we are also part of the Welfare Prato project.
I have done all of this for children and working mothers who, like myself, find difficult reconciling the different times in one’s life.
In 2011 I began my journey within the respective association and I am currently President of Female Entrepreneurship in Prato and Tuscany for Confesercenti (The Italian Shopkeepers’ Association). In 2013, I was also elected as the President of the Female Entrepreneurial Committee in the Chamber of Commerce in Prato where I do activities related to the development and promotion of female entrepreneurship.
I have to say that being an entrepreneur has helped me develop my skills and widen my base of knowledge. From being a schoolteacher to being an entrepreneur, I have learnt to play with numbers, read balance sheets, deal with banks and various institutions. On a personal level, the greatest challenge was that of overcoming fear of the microphone. Organising events and seminars, and speaking to parents is not an easy task, especially as I was a very shy person. But in the end I managed to achieve excellent results at both at a professional and, most importantly, personal level.
Hints & Tips
I am frequently asked to give advice and usually the first question that people ask me is: ‘how can I run an entrepreneurial activity?’ With my experience I try as best as I can to make people sensible to and talk about female entrepreneurship as I believe that women are the engine of the economy. Until this belief is not disproven, I will continue to sponsor and promote it. I am like a drop that falls from a rock – sooner or later the passage will open, right?!
In this moment, my suggestion is to ‘believe’. Although it is not easy given the economic situation and the scarce access to credit, women have a greater drive and it is because of this drive that we succeed in our businesses. However, we must incentivise this even more.
Beyond ‘believing’, I would suggest to all women who are thinking about an entrepreneurial career to always be ahead of the times, to always be informed, innovative, far-seeing and to go beyond reaching the furthest visible point in the horizon. Reach your goal and don’t stop!