In the spotlight: Some inspiring women entrepreneurs from Italy
In the captivating history of Italian entrepreneurship, women have left their indelible mark, proving their exceptional managerial acumen and visionary spirit. Take, for instance, the remarkable Luisa Spagnoli, who founded the iconic ‘Perugina’ company and delighted the world with the famous ‘Bacio’ chocolates, while simultaneously championing the emancipation of her female workforce.
Today, the rise of female entrepreneurs in Italy is a beacon of women’s empowerment in the employment landscape. However, with only 28% representation, there is still much ground to cover. As we honour the trailblazers of the past, we strive to build a powerful future for women entrepreneurs, fuelling their success and contributions to the Italian business scene.
Here’s presenting some powerful women entrepreneurs from Italy.
> Sophie Charlotte Life Coach Sophie & Founder, Power Babe Tribe
Sophie Charlotte has always been a teacher, and she started off by teaching teens in Denmark. Then she decided to follow her heart and move to Florence in 2010, where she quickly became a popular English teacher. Her life coach business actually evolved from her love of helping people – to grow and attain their goals. As a life coach, her absolute passion is helping her clients believe in themselves and in their dreams!
Now, she focuses primarily on helping women to become the most powerful versions of themselves. Founder of the Power Babe Tribe, which holds monthly meet ups in Florence, and this has resulted in a creative “movement” giving entrepreneurial women the opportunity to share ideas, empower themselves and gain momentum towards their goals.
> Jennifer Schwartz – Co-Founder, The Tuscan Turtle & Co – Managing Partner of Authentic Explorations
It was her love and appreciation of food brought Jennifer Schwartz to Italy in 1995 from New York. After working in kitchens in Florence and as an assistant for a famous food writer, she stepped up and established the Tuscan Turtle catering company with the successful author and restaurateur, Susan Jenkins.
She now specialises in creating bespoke food itineraries for travellers from all over the world, who come to Tuscany to dive straight into the heart of Italian culture by understanding its most important element: the food. Since 1999, Jennifer Schwartz has created and run specialized itineraries throughout Europe for her clients, allowing them special access to sites and events closed to the general public. She was also selected for the second year running as a Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist and to be on Travel + Leisure’s A-List in 2022.
> Jane Harman, Co-founder, Wood & Cut
Originally from the South of England, Jane moved to Florence in 1985 as part of an art scholarship. But when her funds dried, she made a living through her talent – sketching outside the Uffizi and teaching English. And, when she knocked on the door of her maestro’s furniture restoration workshop and asked him for an internship – she got the opportunity that led to a flourishing career.
Her passion for restoration has seen her business evolve from designing unique pieces using reclaimed wood, restoring wooden ceilings and balustrades, to making geometrical ebony rings. Wood & Cut is a project born from the encounter between two very different people and from the union of two apparently different professions.
What advice would she give to other budding entrepreneurs in Italy? Nothing is so simple or easy in Italy, and it also depends very much on what type of business you want to take up. She feels that determination, hard work, and some tips from someone who has a bit of local experience is vital. Plus, having the right contacts is a great help too.
> Chiara Ferragni, Founder – The Blonde Salad
Chiara Ferragni is an Italian blogger, businesswoman, fashion designer and model who has collaborated with fashion and beauty brands through her blog – The Blonde Salad. This famous Italian digital entrepreneur, through her blog, influences the fashion world; plus she also created her own brand. Currently, she is one of the most powerful women on the web.
> Marina Salamon , Founder Altana
Marina Salamon , Founder of the Altana company. In 1982, supported by Luciano Benetton, she founded Altana, a leading company in the production of kidswear. In 1992, she acquired Doxa, one of the main Italian companies specialized in surveys, of which he has been president since 2012.
She also founded the Web of Life trust: a non-profit that allocates part of the profits to charitable associations for educational, socio-health, and welfare projects. In trying to give support to the weakest, she was also involved in Progetto Arca and the Francesca Rava Foundation. She was also an international adviser to the WWF, with responsibility for the management of assets, personnel, finance, and for the preparation of the budget.
> Sonia Peronaci, Founder, Giallo Zafferano
Sonia Peronaci is an Italian cook, blogger, writer, and she is the founder of the cooking website Giallo Zafferano. This website is very popular and look at the impact! It receives an average of 65.4 million visits per month mostly from Italian, American, British, and French food lovers.