The Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany (ITKAM) is a non-profit bilateral association, founded 1911.
ITKAM has three offices in Germany, Frankfurt am Main (Headquarter), Berlin and Leipzig (Regional Offices) as well as representative offices in Italy and Austria. ITKAM counts over 400 member companies. Every year, ITKAM provides around 500 Italian and German companies with business support. ITKAM has experience and expertise in fields such as innovation, entrepreneurial support, sustainability, mobility and training, tourism and social inclusion. In the frameworks of AlpBioEco project, ITKAM is Italian partner for Lombardy Region and is involved especially in the business model validation and in the testing of the new products.
Know you better as a project partner
- How many people work in your organization on the AlpBioEco project and what are their roles?
Sonia Barani: Francesco Schapira and I, as Junior Project Managers, have operational roles in this project. We are handling working package 3, namely concept validation and working package 4, policy transfer and we are developing two business models. In the past years we have been involved in the implementation of several European projects. In particular, I have worked on other programmes regarding innovation and entrepreneurship and my colleague in other sustainability activities. This project allows us to capitalize our expertise
Francesco Schapira: Also Ronny Seifert, the Head of business development, has an important role in the project as a supervisor. Thanks to his highly target-oriented approach and many years of experience, he provides a systematic structure for the identification, planning, and management of projects.
- Walnuts, apples or herbs? Which team do you belong to and why?
Sonia Barani: We mainly deal with apple and herbs, but we also partially supported the walnut team.
Francesco Schapira: In the actual fact we actively participated in the organization of the focus group workshops about apple flour in Torino and herbal pacifier in Innsbruck. I also attended two FGW on walnut flips and walnut spread in Bodnegg (Baden-Württemberg)
- What are you currently doing as work for the project?
Sonia Barani: We are actually validating two business models, since there are apple producers in Piemonte and herbs producers in Südtirol who are interested in the implementation.
Francesco Schapira: Originally a workshop with experts was planned on 31 March in Innsbruck to discuss the technical details of the herbal pacifier, instead it was held by video conference. Another focus group workshop about apple flour will be held in May in Milan (most probably also per videoconference)
- Why did you choose to work for AlpBioEco?
Sonia Barani: ITKAM cherishes the issues of sustainability and green economy. Being always close to entrepreneurs, it is important to develop a circular business model. ITKAM represents companies, therefore it´s committed to invest in economic activities that can reduce waste.
Francesco Schapira: Moreover, we find the challenge fascinating, developing a new product from scratch is exciting and challenging.
You and the bioeconomy
- In your opinion, how can AlpBioEco help to develop bioeconomy?
Sonia Barani: Using the waste of apples, herbs and walnuts, AlpBioEco exploits the untapped potential stored within millions of tons of biological and residual materials. Furthermore, the project will raise awareness of the issue and the possibility of developing these types of products.
Francesco Schapira: Another important consideration concerns producers in the region of AlpBio. They will be able to create added value from waste materials.
- Why do you think the bioeconomy is so important for the Alps?
Sonia Barani: Through the bioeconomy, products that are developed can create turnover for local producers and by way of innovative methods, a sustainable economic improvement is promoted.
Francesco Schapira: The agricultural sector is very important for the Alpine regions, but it is going through a period of crisis; the developing of new products can be also useful. The development of bio-innovative products can also be linked to a more sustainable form of tourism.
- If you just had to choose a symbolic word or expression representing the AlpBioEco project, which one would it be?
Sonia Barani: Out-of-the-box
Francesco Schapira: Conscientious
You can follow the ITKAM's activity on the internet and on social networks on the following links:
Facebook: ITKAM - Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany
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LinkedIn: ITKAM - Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany
On the picture, Francesco Schapira on the left and Sonia Barani, in the front row, 3rd person from the left, ITKAM project managers for AlpBioEco.
Photo: AlpBioEco Project Partner ITKAM © ITKAM