Located in Italy, the San Patrignano Community is an inspiring social enterprise that is able to offer free drug rehabilitation programs through a balance of donations and self-sufficient business enterprises. Monica Barzanti is the Assistant in International Matters at San Patrignano. Since 1986, Monica Barzanti has been participating in international conferences relating to drug dependence, including representing San Patrignano at United Nations events through her membership in the Vienna NGO Committee, which she has been a part of since 2006. Social Business interviewed Monica Barzanti on the beginnings of San Patrignano, which was before the term “social enterprise” even had a distinct meaning.
Four Questions with Monica Barzanti
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
I would not say that Vincenzo Muccioli -- the founder of our community, who passed away in 1995 -- chose the business model when he founded the San Patrignano Community. He simply thought that it was necessary to teach people some skills in order to reintegrate them into society so that they can become economically independent and also that, as he gave people looking for help his solidarity, love and care, nobody had to pay for this. Therefore, it was necessary to implement activities that could give, at the same time, vocational training to the residents and a possibility of earning a living. The volunteers that started this project in 1978 worked in different fields that became the first vocational training workshops of our center. Vincenzo used to breed dogs and other pets, and this knowledge was transmitted to the guys of the kennels and stables, with the help of professionals that volunteered offering their know-how.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
We were born as a social business enterprise (even though at that time this concept was still something unexpressed). People working and living here are coming from a multitude of different working sectors. They decided to join us just driven by the willingness to do something useful for others and society.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
Vincenzo Muccioli thought that it was necessary to teach people some skills in order to reintegrate them into society being economically independent: this approach comes directly from the "family model" that inspired San Patrignano from the very beginning. Any father would do his best to help his sons or daughters to find his or her path in life. It is simple and at the same time extremely complex, as family structures are.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
There are no rituals, only passion and enthusiasm.