Valerio Caporossi (Italy/Agriculture) and Josep Margenat (Spain/Agriculture)

Background information of NE
Name & surname: Valerio Caporossi
Country: Italy
Sector of activity: Agricultural products and services
What is your business? An organic hazelnut farm that produces, processes and markets Italian organic hazelnuts and hazelnut products in Italy and abroad.

Background information of HE
Name & surname: Josep Margenat
Country: Spain 
Sector of activity: Agricultural products and services, Tourism
Name of business: Can Burguès

How did Valerio gain important skills and knowledge about the production and marketing of hazelnuts? 

Through my Intermediary Organisation Cia – Agricoltori italiani, I discovered the European programme Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, one of the best and most useful programmes I have attended.

As I am interested in the production and marketing of organic hazelnuts and hazelnut products in Italy and abroad, I decided to apply for the EYE programme. With this opportunity, I believed to improve my job skills, ideas, and to explore my full potential.

With my experience abroad, I have gained knowledge on hazelnut production, which has helped me grow and develop my own organic hazelnut farm-enterprise.

The EYE programme gave me the opportunity to see and experience different techniques that can be used for the cultivation of organic hazelnuts. I implemented the techniques that I have learned from my host entrepreneur. Although, I did have some previous knowledge of the hazelnut sector, I feel much more enriched after my exchange with the HE. Now I can identify pest and diseases that could harm the trees. Being able to recognize these dangers is important for finding a solution on time to prevent further damage to the trees. Moreover, I can organize different machines for various tasks and for this reason I know how to go through the selection process when purchasing a machine.

This programme opened my mind and gave me direct insights into entrepreneurship from the beginning to the end.

During this exchange experience, I had a relationship with the HE and other experienced persons in the hazelnut field, such as an agronomists and an academic researchers.They all advised me on how to strengthen business relations. Furthermore, they helped me improve customer needs and determine the price together. I have learned the importance of listening to the customers. They helped me see things differently to better perform the jobs to be implemented at my farm. In addition, I have been able to learn about the Spanish hazelnut market by comparing its differences with Italy. Knowing the difference is of great importance for the extension of my business into the European market in the future, as I wish to grow and become an international distributor.

The best part of my participation in the EYE programme is the still ongoing support from my HE and others, even after its end. For instance, when I was unsure about the timing and the best methods of cutting the hazelnut suckers or pruning the trees, I had always the possibility to contact them and get help. To this day, I still feel supported and I can always count on them.

I am very thankful to have had this wonderful opportunity. There is no doubt that this programme has helped me grow as a young entrepreneur and meet lifelong friends and mentors. I wish that other young entrepreneurs can also take part in this life changing programme.

Once I reach my goals for my business, I would like to become a HE to help young entrepreneurs, just as I have been helped.

Valerio Caporossi