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Paolo Barletta: “We give companies a future that goes beyond the entrepreneur”

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Barletta added political commitment to volunteering: «The last year of high school I followed microcredit projects in Kenya from the theory of Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus with an NGO and I spent the holidays in the country. We were in the more rural areas and my parents were worried that I was on the front line, ”he says.

Doing politics and volunteering helps develop skills that then prove important at work, from managing boards to investment negotiations. Challenges that arrived early in Barletta’s curriculum. «After graduation I worked in Milan in a family office and mom called me to tell me: “Know that dad is very old and if you want to carry on the family business this is the time to come back. Both choices are right “. And I went back to Rome ». Born in 1953 on the initiative of his father Raffaele, the family group developed residential real estate activities and then entered the hotel sector in 1993. “I had various experiences in the hotel, as a porter, housekeeper, receptionist, administration, reservations, bar and I got to know the car. When I returned in 2011, I did it to support Dad in the reorganization. On the one hand he was happy, on the other he had never had to interface with someone who did not slavishly carry out what he said and who brought a different point of view. We had a wonderful human relationship, but at the beginning it was not the same at work »says Barletta. A period of not easy reorganization, which has seen two generations in comparison and sometimes in clash. “I worked very little with my dad, only 2 years. In 2013, when it passed away, everything was still to be built. I became CEO at the age of 26 »recalls Barletta, who keeps a precious gift from his father:« My greatest bond with dad is a half-tailed piano, which was in one of our hotels. When he closed he gave it to me and still today, when I’m at home, I play my compositions in the evening, because music is one of my great passions ».

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Today very little remains of the historic Barletta group. In 2020 Paolo Barletta with Nicola Bulgari founded Arsenale, a company focused on Made in Italy tourism, which merged the Soho House Roma and Rosewood Venezia projects. «The world of hospitality is the oil of our country. The supply chain must be complete: from how you take people there, how they eat, what tours they do. With Arsenale we want to accompany the large hotel chains in their entry into Italy with 10-15 projects over the next 10 years in iconic sites with different managers “explains Barletta, adding:” In Italy we have settled on the natural beauties we have, but if we don’t evolve from the point of view of services sooner or later we risk losing foreign tourism. Arsenale is investing 800 million with more than 1,200 people hired through related industries. The State should facilitate the birth of similar groups in order to multiply the investments that can arrive on the market ”.

On being an entrepreneur and being one in Italy Barletta has clear ideas. «My biggest dream is to see my independent company, which can live without Paolo Barletta. The real victory for parent entrepreneurs is to give their children the freedom to join the company or not, but the company must survive anyway. In Italy, on the other hand, it is necessary for the second generation to enter the family business, because there are no managers. What I’m trying to do is create a group independent of me “underlines Barletta, who adds:” Arsenale and Alkimia do not bear my name, although I consider my surname a value. The Barletta Group must finish before Paolo Barletta. My children, if they want to, will decide to join a company that does not bear their name ».

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From the name to the capitals. In Italy there is no lack of criticism of the under-capitalization of companies, to this Barletta replies: «I have put everything in my company and if it goes wrong my quality of life becomes much more conservative. The entrepreneur must be the first to invest in his business if he wants other investors and banks to believe in the project. Unfortunately, however, relations with banks have changed and they risk not enhancing certain choices because with the new procedures you decide on the basis of coefficients: reputation and entrepreneurial value no longer count as they once did. In credit institutions, financial managers are now prevailing and bankers are lacking. To relaunch Italian companies, however, the banks must return to central positions and play a role in giving business confidence ». Thinking about the future, whether it is of one’s own company or of the country, is one of the stylistic figures of Barletta, which in 2015 with the family launched the first edition of Myllennium award, award in the name of his father Raffaele dedicated to young people. “When Dad died, I wanted to do something to leave in his memory. I thought of an award that would give young people an opportunity in different fields, from music to sport to startups. We reward merit with capital that can help develop talents and ideas, because it is important to pay for merit, work must be paid. Young people thus understand that their work can make them grow “says Barletta, who continues:” We are in the seventh edition and in recent years we have seen hundreds of young people start their careers. I strongly believe that if each person helps another person in their life, the world becomes a better place. Unfortunately, there are people who do not and therefore those who can must integrate. In this, Italy is a very generous country and good returns when people know that you are an added value ».

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