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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News blog22 February 2023Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs2 min read

´Success for me is bringing values beyond money´

An interview with 33 Under 33 entrepreneur Benedetta Spattini

Secrets of Success Benedetta Spattini33 under 33

On the Promoting Enterprise portal we are talking to the entrepreneurs on the 33 Under 33 list. This Secrets of Success initiative aims to shine the spotlight on a selection of successful young entrepreneurs, documenting their stories in an effort to inspire others to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. Today we get to know young Italian Benedetta Spattini.

Benedetta is Italian and has a double law degree from universities in Italy and Spain. She doesn’t believe in heroes but a few examples of people she finds extremely inspiring include Italian war surgeon, human rights and peace activist Gino Strada and American rock climber, environmentalist, philanthropist and outdoor industry businessman Yvon Chouinard. Her entrepreneurial spirit comes from her grandfather. Her company WHATaECO is active in online retail.

Tell us about your business

WHATaECO is a sustainable marketplace. We promote the growth of sustainable brands to highly profiled target audiences, on an ecological platform with zero initial technical challenges, providing omnichannel opportunities for our 200+ brands.

Where did you get the idea from?

It started with a personal need; we were searching for a more sustainable way to buy zero waste ethical products online. Then, it developed into the will to support sustainable brands in all their needs: selling to final customers, to shops and retailers, and implementing and strengthening their brand values online. Now, we help and support sustainable brands in reaching a broader audience with an omnichannel approach.

How old were you when you first decided you would start your own business?

Well, I founded a cultural association when I was 21, then a short-term rental business when I was 25 and now I’ve been working on WHATaECO for a couple of years. I feel like I always had in mind that I wanted to create something on my own, to have an impact on communities.

How did you get it off the ground?

By taking an executive approach and meeting with wise people who helped us to always keep sight of the final vision.

Who did you turn to for help?

Acceleration programmes. We got selected by quite a large number of them, but the ones we chose to attend really helped us in taking steps forward: I am thinking mainly of Genoa Entrepreneurship School (Genova) and German Tech (Berlin).

Secrets of Success Benedetta Spattini33 under 33 trump card

Describe some of the obstacles you faced as a young person starting out in this business.

I started my journey without having the skill set of an entrepreneur and I went through a real-life MBA learning from my mistakes.

How do you define success?

Success for me is bringing values beyond money.

What was the most challenging aspect of setting up your business?

The most challenging aspect was learning by doing.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

The people I have met, the ethical entrepreneurs – this has been the most rewarding part of the journey so far.

What are the future goals of your business, and how will you go about achieving them?

Increasing our brand community and keeping on improving the way we promote sustainable brands on WHATaECO.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there?

Monitor how much time you spend on what, and which outcomes it brings you.

Follow and learn more about “Secrets of Success: 33 under 33” via the app and the Youtube SoS 33 under 33 playlist. 

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