After a two-year training programme, sapa received the elite certificate of the italian stock exchange, who train italian companies that just entered the stock exchange to attain a larger growth and more visibility on the market.

I still remember Claudio.

He attended a different class than me, but it was impossible not to notice him. Indeed, because Claudio decided to begin high school at the age of 34.

At first, it was just a bit weird: we felt like there was always somebody that checked upon us, that controlled us. Then we understood that Claudio was not like our parents, although he might well have been the same age as them.

During recess, he would always eat an apple and he talked with us about anything: about girls and football and sometimes he also came along to concerts. Of course, having him in our midst was somewhat peculiar, and it must have been even more so for our teachers.

However, nobody – among us pupils nor among the teachers, ever asked him how he’d come to the idea of going back to school, whether it was the first time he attended high school or whether he had already studied elsewhere. Only three people knew about it: him, his mother and the headmaster.

If you are wondering what all this has in common with the certificate that we received from the Italian Stock Exchange, I’ll tell you immediately.

On the day of graduation, it happened: somebody asked Claudio how he had gotten to the idea of going back to high school at 34 years of age.

And he said very simply: “I understood that getting an education would improve my work.”

He was a baker.

I told you about this anecdote to tell you about a decision we made here at SAPA that resulted in us supporting training for our personnel once again, this time in collaboration with the Italian Stock Exchange.

As you may know, we have always attached great importance to life long learning: my father got the idea of creating an internal R&D department in view of supporting innovation through research. The department is called “Innovation Engineering” and it is fair to say that it is the hidden engine that makes the whole machine work. We firmly believe that growth for a business comes from training: training means curiosity, movement and growth.

This was the kind of attitude that led us to enrol in the ELITE programme in 2016.

ELITE is a programme established in 2012 to support small and medium enterprises in Italy. It was established as a response to the credit crisis of 2011, the so called “credit crunch”. On that occasion, the real economy and entrepreneurs were forced to realise that having one single source of financing for their businesses, i.e. traditional bank loans, was no longer enough. The first consequence of this crisis was clearly to look at foreign markets.

In 2012 ELITE was launched in Italy and within just a few years it reached its ambitious objectives: more than 900 businesses of excellence in the world adhered to the ELITE programme and rose to the challenge of representing a selection of the best businesses of their countries, and in doing so they were supported by a network of 200 Partners and 200 Investors throughout the programme.

Today ELITE has become a global community whose clear vision is to provide businesses with access to capital, skills and the necessary network to generate a long-lasting socio-economic impact.

Throughout the year, a group of 20/30 businesses that decide to participate in the whole programme together is trained. Obviously, in order to be accepted in the programme, applicants must meet the quality criteria required.

The training programme is divided in phases: after an introductory phase in school (at the Bocconi University of Milan, which is the business school partner of ELITE in Italy), the requirements of the participating businesses are examined, and the participants then take part in workshops on various issues and topics. Finally, training is concluded with a certification and the businesses that participated enter the ELITE network.

As you can imagine, it is a demanding journey, not only for the people within the company that take the responsibility to participate, but it is important that the whole company assumes a receptive attitude of all the inputs and proposals that emerge from the programme.

For us this programme meant a lot: we grew not only in the automotive sector but more in general we grew as a business in the Italian landscape.

This very year, SAPA changed its form from a limited company to a public listed company, and in this way opened up to investors.

Our objective is namely to become a real industrial model to look up to as a point of reference.

As usual, there aren’t very many ways to reach an objective. We are investing in training and we firmly believe in this.

If I think back of Claudio and his hard work and the sacrifices he made, I am left with no doubt.

Training is also the best way to push past one’s limitations and boundaries, to expand one’s capabilities and to conquer those unknown areas that we didn’t even believe we would be able to conquer in the first place.


Kind regards,

Giovanni Affinita,

Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors at SAPA


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