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Not for young people: Brazzale Spa focuses on the over 60s

When you mention startups, young people come to mind. Instead, with a decidedly unconventional move, entrepreneur Roberto Brazzale decided to focus on more mature workers’ experience and expertise for the company he set up to sell high-end dairy products to local restaurants and businesses.

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Making way for young people? No, thanks!

It’s not every day that you read stories like that of Vicenza entrepreneur Roberto Brazzale, 61, at the helm with his brothers of Brazzale Spa, an outstanding Made in Italy company and one of the oldest cheese factories in Italy, founded in 1784.

For a new company branch dedicated to selling high-end dairy products to local restaurants and businesses, Roberto Brazzale made an unconventional choice. He decided to hire only people over 60, selected primarily from among his friends.

From crisis to opportunity

The idea came after the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, which mainly affected senior workers in Veneto and had nothing to do with charity. Initially, Brazzale bets on young people, but the results are unsatisfactory.

He then decided to change course by turning to the experience and expertise gained by older workers over many years, even in industries other than his own. Thus, the start-up ‘Tentata Vendita di Burri Speciali‘ was established. It combines business with the idea of offering a job opportunity to his peers and lifelong friends who are facing difficulty due to the crisis but are full of enthusiasm, determination, a desire to get back into the game, and a proactive spirit. “They are all great. They work with enthusiasm that they know how to pass on. They are dynamic, never tired, some ‘operative around the clock’. We opened temporary stores between Padua and Vicenza and experimented with food trucks all over Italy… It works.’ These are Roberto Brazzale’s words in an interview with the magazine ‘Alimentando’, while to the Corriere del Veneto, he says: ‘60 today is the new 40: it means having experience, passion and energy.’

Betting on seniors to leave the right space for young people

Investing in seniors is also the other side of a policy in favour of new parents. Six years ago, in fact, the company decided to offer, in addition to the so-called ‘baby bonus’ of one month’s salary, a year of parental leave at the company’s expense, keeping the wage at 30%. In this regard, the entrepreneur said to Corriere del Veneto: ‘We should put mothers and fathers in a comfortable position and create a support network around them, relying on the extraordinary potential of the most experienced people.

Made in Italy (also) outside Italy

But these were not the only bold choices made by Brazzale. The reason why the Vicenza-based entrepreneur is ranked by Capital magazine among the 100 bravest entrepreneurs in Italy in 2023 is another. After realising there was a demand for Made in Italy products that Italy could not satisfy, he decided to give up the PDO mark and expand the production of Italian dairy specialities by moving it to Moravia. The operation’s success allowed him to increase investment in Italy, increasing turnover and the number of employees.

A unique, revolutionary business model that has borne fruit.

When being bold pays off

All these choices were also, and above all, rewarded by figures. The company ended 2022 with a turnover of more than EUR 300 million and a thousand employees worldwide, and the forecasts for the future, despite the inevitable difficulties, point to the best.

Congratulations to those who make bold decisions against the general trend, break the mould and take Italy into the world!

Learn about other outstanding companies from Veneto.