MATERA - The keys to successful enterprise require as a base some essential ingredients: vision, ambition, content, a network, a human resources infrastructure, know-how, financing and “project managers”- people who will get things done.
As per yesterday’s first article, it appears that Toronto and Matera have at least chosen the right people to “manage” the Twinning project. These are George Spezza, Director for Economic Development and Business Growth Services for the City of Toronto, and his counterpart in Matera, Michele Grieco, “Delegate [plenipotentiary]” of City Council and Mayor De Ruggieri.
The two seemed to revel in the prospect of turning the Twining into an energetic plan to ensure the “flowering” of an idea founded the strengths of what the two Municipalities can turn to mutual benefit in what Toronto Deputy Mayor, Vincent Crisanti, described as a “partnership”.
No nonsense, yet deferential and purposeful in his approach, Councillor Crisanti has been the ideal “face of Toronto”. Materani seemed genuinely impressed by his “presence” and his willingness to call upon Spezza to address the minutest of details on the spot. He was “managerial” without being intrusive. Explorative in his questions on operational issues and creative in questions related to the economic infrastructure of enterprises and their managerial culture, he involved the members of the Basilicata Cultural Society in helping construct the bridge between the culture of Matera and the one in which Torontonians live.
Frank Miele, the Torontonian – himself a “Lucano” - tasked by the Basilicata Cultural Society to “navigate” the application and the co-ordination of both the project and its outcomes brought his administrative and “professorial perspective” to bear as a link to connect individual prospects to common themes that guide the project. He too works well with Vincent Crisanti.
Before the day of the Signing was over, this combination had already begun the process of linking real and serious proposals for development with at least three enterprises desirous of co-operation with a Toronto “partnership”. Impressive because the interest came from the agri-product, manufacturing, hi-tech and heavy industry sectors.
What may further “tickle the fancy” of Torontonians looking for investment opportunities abroad are the enormous infrastructure investments that Europe and Italy will pour into the region (a combined 8 billion Euros)in order to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the designation of Matera as the Cultural Capital of Europe, 2019.
There are at least $50 million available to the restorative and creative arts. They are looking for Foreign Direct Investors to partner on projects specific to peeling back the veil that has covered the prodigious artistic, artisanal works that characterize Matera and Basilicata. Those restoration projects are linked to upgrading long-term cultural and tourism strategies that target Return on Investments aiming to satisfy short term requirements and nurture quality returns in the longer term.
Michele Grieco teamed up with some enlightened Mayors from neighbouring municipalities to highlight some of the priority opportunities with exploratory in situ visits.
Aside from the fact that each was impressive in their own right, the exercise served to underscore that Mr Grieco will serve as the operational nexus for the Canada- Italy partnership.
One closing mention of the contribution by the “informal” Committee of the Basilicata Diaspora (represented by Manny Di Lecce, Antonio Locantore, Dan Montesano, Paolo Petrozza, Sam Primucci and Pat Tremamunno – the initiators of the “twinning”). These Canadians provide an informal, behind-the-scenes, “oversight and screening” reference point for any thorough “due diligence”.
In October, all of these elements revert to Toronto for the second leg of the Signing of the Protocol. From that point, the “rubber will hit the road”.