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Meet Serena Chironna's Vision for Remote Work: Building Hubs in Italy!




In an era where remote work has become the new norm, Serena Chironna emerges as a visionary entrepreneur, dedicated to transforming the landscape of work in Italy. As the world shifted towards decentralised work models, Serena envisioned the creation of remote work hubs across Italy, fostering collaboration, innovation, and flexibility. In this blog, find out all about Serena's inspiring journey and explore the potential impact of her initiative on Italy's economy and work culture.


1. What inspired you to transition from a stable career to entrepreneurship in the field

of sustainability and remote work?


Before leaving my 9-5 career, I was deeply involved in sustainability through an international not-for-profit organisation. I really loved working somewhere driven by purpose. However, when the pandemic began, it prompted me to rethink my career path. I felt a strong desire to explore new opportunities and create something truly my own.



2. Can you share the journey of founding KINO Italy and your vision for transforming

Italy into a remote work haven?


During the pandemic, I noticed that some destinations were attracting remote workers and digital nomads as a strategy to offset the decline in conventional tourism. Moreover, this approach also brought economic development and innovation to areas facing depopulation. It struck me that Italy, with its rich heritage and lesser-known destinations, was perfectly poised to embrace this opportunity.

That led me to Madeira Island, Portugal, specifically to the village of Ponta do Sol, which had become renowned as a 'nomad heaven.' I spent three months there, immersing myself in the nomad community, learning from the experience, and networking extensively. Many of the friends I made there joined the first community program of KINO Italy in Southern Italy.

While I have lived abroad in various European countries, Italy holds a special place in my heart. I wanted to help remote professionals worldwide discover the authentic beauty of Italy and simultaneously foster development in its quaint villages and remote locations.



3. How do you balance the various responsibilities as a co-founder, from project

management to community building?


Becoming an entrepreneur and co-founder has been both thrilling and challenging. It's a role that requires wearing many hats, which suits my generalist approach—I enjoy learning a bit of everything. The need to adapt quickly and forego perfectionism has been part of the journey. I’ve also discovered more about what I genuinely enjoy through direct experience. For example, while I find community building rewarding, managing large groups can be exhausting, which was an unexpected realisation that has influenced how I manage my responsibilities.


4. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in establishing remote work

hubs in off-season destinations?


Establishing remote work hubs in off-season destinations has posed several challenges, primarily due to the lack of adequate services and infrastructure necessary for remote work. While creating a remote work community in these villages brings many benefits, it also requires a baseline of services to be sustainable. If locals are leaving due to a lack of services, then remote workers might face similar issues. Ensuring stable internet and transportation has been particularly challenging due to our limited resources as a startup. Additionally, building a hub without residing in the location demands a deep understanding of the local context and strong relationships with local stakeholders—a slow and complex process.


5. Could you elaborate on the economic impact KINO Italy has generated so far,

and how it aligns with your mission of making a positive impact?


Over the past two years, we've organised six work-and-travel programs, bringing over 60 international professionals to Italy during the off-peak seasons, generating an economic impact of over €150,000. However, the true measure of our impact isn't just in economic terms. We've engaged with over 200 local residents through cultural exchanges and social activities. For instance, during our pilot project in Tursi, Basilicata, we held 'Impact Fest'—a series of design thinking sessions that connected our remote work community with local organisations to brainstorm on skill-sharing and social innovation projects. Activities like cooking and dancing with local ‘nonnas’ have been especially popular among our participants, showing that our impact is as much about cultural exchange and joy as it is about economic benefits.



6. As a Sustainability Consultant, how do you apply your expertise to support

Organisations?


My background in sustainability is crucial when engaging with local stakeholders about development and environmental impact. Besides my entrepreneurial ventures, I also assist companies in the fashion and textile industry to develop sustainable sourcing strategies. While these sectors might seem disconnected from remote work and digital nomadism, the common thread is a commitment to making a positive impact and being driven by a mission and purpose.


7. What role do you see remote work playing in the future of sustainability and

economic development, especially in Italy?


Remote work has the potential to revolutionise the way we live and work, particularly in Italy's small villages and rural areas. These locations offer a high quality of life with a potentially smaller environmental footprint compared to urban living. Remote work not only helps counteract depopulation trends by enabling young professionals to remain in or return to their hometowns but also promotes social innovation and revitalisation. This can lead to more sustainable economic development and support for the ageing population through increased services and intergenerational projects.


8. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to create meaningful

impact in both sustainability and remote work sectors?


There's incredible potential in sustainability and remote work to make a real difference. However, it’s crucial to recognise that creating a meaningful impact doesn’t always align with the most profitable business opportunities. In our journey with KINO Italy, we often faced choices where the best business move didn't fit our mission. For instance, although we aimed to promote longer stays to deepen cultural immersion, the market favoured shorter, more frequent engagements. Balancing idealism with the realities of business is tough, and I'm still navigating this challenge. If you're stepping into this space, be prepared to innovate and maybe find new ways to reconcile these aspects.


9. Can you share any upcoming projects or initiatives you’re excited about at KINO

Italy or in your consultancy work?


Currently, we've had to put a pause on our on-ground activities at KINO Italy due to several challenges and personal changes. It's a tough decision, but the support from our community has been heartwarming. They’ve sent us many kind messages, showing how much they value our concept. While this period is more about reflection and recalibration, I'm actively exploring other avenues to keep contributing to the remote work ecosystem in Italy. It’s a time of change, but also of opportunity!



10. How do you stay motivated and maintain a balance between your professional

roles and personal interests as a multi-passionate individual?


Integrating my personal interests with my professional life through KINO Italy has been a fulfilling yet complex adventure. Initially, blending my passions with my business seemed ideal. However, over time, I realised that maintaining this fusion was more challenging than anticipated. Currently, I’m exploring new ways to balance my professional pursuits with the freedom and benefits of remote work. It’s a continuous journey of self-discovery and adjustment, keeping me engaged and excited about the future possibilities.


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