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Heroes still exist in the modern world, and they are the entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized companies. While everyone else is complaining about the worldwide financial crisis, these heroes instead choose to spend their time investing, innovating, promoting, marketing, and bringing home results.

Not many people recognize their true value. Shortsighted people and ignorant politicians define them as tax evaders, profiteers, rule breakers, people who get rich at the expense of others, but the truth is that if our country is growing and has wealth it is thanks to the investments and the efforts of these people and certainly not thanks to the financial maneuvers of this or that government.

No one ever thanks them, but most of the jobs that are created do not dependent on the latest government employment decree or act (which in fact often just complicate things), but by the efforts and investments of these individuals.

With rare exceptions, they receive no protection from associations as the latter prefer to support big business, but instead face everything alone. Indeed for them this is normal, because they have always had to rely solely on their own efforts.

The news and the media rarely speak of them unless they’ve been involved in something shady or dramatic. They are a silent majority who prefer to stay out of the lime light. Rather than finding themselves in a television studio, they prefer to be at the laboratory, attending a business fair, or in their store. Though 80% of the jobs in your city are very likely created by them, you rarely see them in a finance news special. It is rare, in fact, for someone to ask their opinion on what is needed to make things better.

There are plenty of people who are ready to accuse, to demand, to claim. Few however understand the great importance they have for our society and for our lives. In fact, if an exception is made for those who make a living in politics, there is probably no family in our country that does not owe at least part of its economic stability to a relationship with one of these companies.

Running a small business in our modern world is not easy. To do it you have to overcome a host of obstacles, most of which are irritatingly useless and created by those who, in all honesty, should be helping you: the bureaucracies and governments that impose absurd regulations and high taxation don’t always rise to the occasion. And if you add to this mix an educational system that tends to instill the younger generation with a distrust of all that is private and linked to entrepreneurship, then you shouldn’t be surprised at the overwhelming forces these small businesses need to confront every day.

Nevertheless they continue to invest in research, to innovate, to recruit and plan the future of their companies. This requires them to overcome unimaginable difficulties; lack of money, astonishingly late work hours, so much time spent away from their families.

We need to celebrate these people. They are undoubtedly an important asset to any country, but they rarely ever receive thanks. This is why I wanted to take the opportunity to sing their praises.

These are people who never retreat in the face of difficulty, who have the courage to sell, and for whom I have a deep and sincere admiration.

These people are special, and I owe a lot to them.

Paolo Ruggeri