Frank Ferrante: the American dream is born from crisis
Frank Ferrante Business lawyer in Manhattan, explains how most of the 500 major American societies were born form the 1929 crisis
Read for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
Cristina Vannuzzi Landini interviews the Italo-American lawyer Frank Ferrante, founder of the Studio Legale Ferrante in New York. Born in Calabria, he studied in Italy and then in USA. In his profession he unites the rapidity and dynamics of the American business style together with the care for attention and the flair which are typically Italian.
The Studio Legale Ferrante is a real boutique for Italian clients in New York, there are about 15 experts with an International vocation. He has already opened offices in China and Brazil. The Studio assists in Italy and abroad many clients from real estate, fashion, design, technology, and from wine and food sectors. It offers services relative to 5 micro areas: advisory for start-up business in USA for Italian companies, real estate, immigration, e-commerce and intellectual property (brands/copyrights)
Interview by Cristina Vannuzzi Landini
Q. Avvocato Ferrante “Is small still beautiful?
A. “I am convinced that small is always better, but the time has come to reinvent ourselves. The Italian economic fabric has always been made up of mostly medium and small companies; most of these were in fact family run. The US is one of the largest “friendly” nations for business men, as proven by the World Bank statistics. As long as the “business plan” is solid, the States can offer infinite benefits from a fiscal, corporate, immigration and transparency point of view. I have directly experienced this myself and I try to help the Italian excellencies to experience the so called “American dream”. In a moment of crisis, the worst thing to do is to stay still and wait for it to go away. To look abroad is no longer an option, but a strategy for survival. From this “survival” many have obtained success!”
Q. In the course of a few years the nations which had been underestimated, India, China, Brazil, the Middle East… have all become the richest of nations with great prospectives, and in Italy, we watch the rest of the world create new development opportunities; which safeguard do you suggest for the PMI (small and medium enterprises) ?
A. The small and medium enterprises can protect themselves watching these markets. The fact that they are based in Italy does not necessarily mean that it must be the only market where they operate these new markets that you have mentioned, India, China, Brazil, and the Middle East must not be seen as a threat but as opportunities. Globalisation will always be increasing. Secondly I think that the Italian government, as the American one is doing, should give incentives to deserving small and medium enterprises. The major problem is taxes. In Italy enterprises are taxed even more on their income and on their employees. If we want to help the internal economy this trend must be diminished.
Q. Could the crisis undo all the promotion done abroad?
A. No. The crisis is the bet opportunity that could happen. Here is an example: a large amount of the Fortune 500 companies (list of the best 500 companies according to Forbes) was born from the crisis in 1929. History is recurrent and teaches us that those that seem to be obstacles, if confronted with the right spirit, are opportunities; they help us to look beyond.
Q. Is Italian society, from fashion to wine and food sufficiently prepared? Let’s say that in the past our Italian entrepreneurs have always been deeply convinced that Italy was top for art, culture, fashion and food and beverages…and today?
A. Regarding quality Italy is first in the world for the sectors you have mentioned. However entrepreneurs’ role is to always reinvent themselves. For example the present business scenario is dominated by Internet and the social media. As an entrepreneur it is important to make the most of this trend otherwise the risk is to become obsolete, even when the products are excellent. Marketing is becoming fundamental and I myself and very careful of this aspect for my law firm. We must send the right message, through the right channel to the right people. Another consideration I wish to make is that in International commerce it is important to adapt to the various markets we cover. A product or service can be successful in one nation but fail miserably in another. I see this every day with our clients. The key word for this is innovation.
Q. The tourist data for the 2012 summer signals an increase in food and wine tourism. Is this the future of an Italian division that has great weight on the GDP?
A. Italy is faithful to its origins and surely food is one of these. If I am not mistaken Italy is 7th nation in the world for visitors per year. I feel that other than the excellence of its products Italian gastronomy is appreciated for its tradition. In particular Italian wines are getting more and more appreciated in the USA and speaking with our clients who are distributors I understand that they foresee even greater possibilities. In China also, a market that is known as being hostile towards Italian wines, it seems that the wind is changing. About a month ago, in Beijing, the Cerimonia Inaugurale dei Vini Italiani in Cina was held. This is a year long project required by the Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico and financed by the Dipartimento degli Affari Esteri d’Italia. Previously we were talking about protecting the small and medium enterprises; I think this is a good beginning.