Chinese millenials discovering the Veneto: Nicola Farronato presents VCNY

Nicola Farronato is an entrepreneur and marketing expert, a passion he discovered during his years as an Internal Business student here at Ca’ Foscari. His salesman skills and his love for adventure made him travel all around the world for more than 10 years as export manager.
9 years ago, he decided to dive into the start-up world, first as a consultant and then rising to the role of founder and CEO.
 His last projects reconnected him with the Ca’ Foscari community, paving the way to collaborations with Science Gallery, Ca’ Foscari Alumni and Ciset. Let’s find out more about his latest entrepreneurial idea, VCNY. 

How was your experience as a Ca’ Foscari student? 

Extremely positive I have to say. I have very fond memories of the lectures in Venice and Treviso, when I was part of one of the first International Business classes. What’s great is that after 10 years from my graduation, I managed to reconnect with the University on many levels and with successful results. Specifically, I would like to mention the projects I shared and developed with the Ca’ Foscari Alumni association, the collaborations with Ciset and, last but not least, my involvement in Science Gallery Venice, which I will tell you more about later on. 

What have been the most important steps in your career and how was your interest for innovative marketing born? 

My passion for marketing was born right here in the University. When I heard an uncommon definition of the term, something like “marketing is rooted in the ability to listen, from which each multilateral form of communication stems”, that resonated with me.
First, I listened to my childhood hopes and dreams, to one day travel the world with my briefcase. My first experiences were in the manufacturing industry – jewelry, furniture and outdoor. In ten years, I managed to take part to over 200 business trips in Europe, Middle East, Asia and America. Then for a brief amount of time, I worked with Italian biotech spin-offs, where my interest for startup companies grew and where I carried out some innovative entrepreneurial projects, always focused on marketing. The main one, B-sm@rk, took me to Dublin for 8 years and from there I managed to research and innovate topics like emotional marketing, consumer profiling and travel technology. 
In Ireland, I had the chance to enter the Enterprise Ireland innovation system, one of the main technological project accelerators in Europe.

Can you tell us more about your new project, VCNY? 

When I was in Dublin, I collaborated with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival, which draws more than 10 thousands visitors each year. That is where I got the idea of taking this format to the Veneto, as neither Venice nor the region have any active project on Chinese tourism, especially intended for millennials, in the period of the Chinese New Year, between January and March.
We started with great ambition and we wanted to make sure that we could oversee the cooperation between public and private subjects on the main topic of our idea - the exemplary mix of tourism, culture and business. The road is long but this project really fascinates me, because I see it as one of the most interesting growth curves in the Italian incoming tourism market.
On January 19, 2018, Venice saw the inauguration of the year of European-Chinese tourism, where sustainable tourism became one of the key points in this cooperation framework. The search for authentic and unique experiences that stray from traditional touristic routes is a growing trend amongst Asian millennials, who are no longer interested in a touch-and-run visit. In VCNY, Venice will become a sort of “battering ram”, an international brand that will open the Veneto to the world, offering  “experience packages” – be them about food, art or culture – that can redirect tourism to lesser known locations, thus contrasting the overcrowding tendency of the city center.  

At the moment you are a member of the Science Gallery Venice Leonardo group, the team of professionals who are willing to stimulate creativity and innovation in art and science. How did this collaboration come to life? 

This is another case where it seems like there is a fil rouge between Dublin and Venice, first in my personal experience (both as student and entrepreneur) and now between two countries with numerous tourism, culture and business initiatives.
I had my first encounter with Science Gallery right in Dublin, when I worked with them on some events in the past, where we collected data on the visitors of certain exhibitions. When they asked me to become part of the advisory board, the Leonardo group, I was thrilled to lend my expertise to this ambitious project. 

Francesca Favaro