Job Digital Lab with ING Italia: Carmen Valente describes her experience with networking in Salento
“Our objective is to prolong the experience of activities in the real world through on-line activities providing users with the opportunity to buy the products they have learned about and tried in person.”
Carmen Valente, network manager, participated in the on-line event organised by Job Digital Lab: “Promoting local wine and gastronomy tourism with digital tools,” describing the creation of the Salento delle Murge network of enterprises. “What makes us most proud,” Carmen explains, “is when the companies in our network tell us that it works!”
With the help of Nicoletta Vulpetti, a true lover of identity stories, the second edition of Job Digital Lab, the educational programme developed with ING Italia, presents the stories of the protagonists of personal and community change.
It all began in 2017, when the Regione Puglia published a call for the creation of a network of enterprises. It was the perfect opportunity. Just a few years earlier, we had attended a course on the management of this new type of legal form. So, we were interested. We won the call with a project allowing tourists to learn about our local community and the products of our enterprises, including micro-enterprises.
In November 2019, we incorporated with the name “Salento delle Murge” and began activities in May 2020. That was right in the middle of the pandemic, so we could not even drop brochures off in shops and cafés. So, we decided to go on-line and become social: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and then our first website – www.salentodellemurge.com – as well as whatsapp and e-mail. We wanted to reach as many people as possible and introduce them to the local reality that we had created.
At the beginning, they asked us about our identity, and it took me a year to understand the answer: typical local gastronomic and artisanal products were capable of attracting tourism. Our mission is to promote innovative and sustainable tourism in this area of Puglia that is still largely unknown. We select itineraries, cultural experiences, and the wine and gastronomy that will provide people with memorable experiences of our beautiful area.
At present, there are 23 companies in our network and other 6 are about to join. Our network is growing, as is our desire to promote this area that is less-known than other tourist destinations in Puglia.
We did not do everything alone. We achieved many results also thanks to the support of Andrea Marulli, a commercial strategy consultant who showed us the route to pursue, to save on energy and time.
Our next goal is to open an e-commerce site to sell the products of our companies: wine, pasta, oil, baked and jarred foods, juices and ceramics. The objective is to prolong the experience activated in person and carry it on-line with the opportunity to purchase the products they have learned about and tried in person.
Our relations build up between two worlds – the physical one and the digital one – to keep them alive once tourists have returned home.
And what makes us most proud is when our companies tell us that it works!