Elizabeth and Anna
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Elizabeth and Anna’s story
Anna and Elizabeth, co-owners of PYMWYMI, became friends in Seattle when they learned of their mutual love for travel and Italian culture. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, and a Minor in Spanish Studies. After college she set off for more adventures, this time farther, to work as an Au Pair in Bari, Italy and La Roquette-sur-Siagne, France. She now lives in Palo Alto where she is continuing studies in Social Psychology at Stanford University and skypes Anna frequently to share ambitious aspirations about how to make the PYMWYMI tour the best it can be for guests and hosts alike.
Anna graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnomusicology, and a Minor in Dance. Like many of her Generation Y peers Anna did not go to work following graduation, but instead pursued passions completely irrelevant to her degrees. She moved to Rome, Italy where she studies Italian, plays her trumpet, and skypes Elizabeth frequently with questions and concerns about how to make her aspirations become a financially attainable reality.
Anna and Elizabeth united on this project with a mutual love of the richness of Southern Italian culture, as well as a concern for the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the local place and people. They recognize that Southern Italy has much to offer and is at a crucial juncture in the development of local tourism operations. With this in mind, the business was started with the conviction that as young people, what we do today shapes our tomorrow. Today, we work towards enhancing the relationship between tourist operations and responsible businesses in order to guide socially and environmentally sustainable development of this wonderful region.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Our mission is to cultivate culturally enriching experiences through environmentally, socially, and economically responsible tours. Our tour focuses on food and activity-based experiences, as opposed to consuming-based. We work in person with local and responsible business owners in our chosen destinations to find experiences to provide to our guests. Such experiences include cultivation and preparation of local foods, cultural and historical learning, local festivals, outdoor adventure activities, and engaging with artisans and musicians.
Our tour falls outside of typical tourism season in an effort to sustain tourism capital during the tougher economic periods in Southern Italy. Not only do we support responsible businesses, but we act responsibly ourselves by leaving as small a footprint as possible. This is why we limit the tour to 3 groups of 5 people (occasionally all joining together). These are people who travel with the intention of learning about local culture and meeting the creators of it, and who want to have a fun and rustic experience with the convenience of having a pre-planned tour with their desires in mind.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is works to share the beautiful and unique intricacies of Southern Italy with our guests by investing positively into the host place and people.
What is the purpose of this loan?
In addition to basic advertising needs to US clients, this loan will support an intensive approach when finding Italian hosts. Many of our hosts do not have websites, and consequently forming a relationship for future collaboration is reliant on our physical presence. We need to finance a period in which we can be in Italy working exclusively to form these relationships. This is a crucial one-time startup expense.
To elaborate on the importance of these face-to-face interactions, the benefits have already become clear with preliminary research Anna conducted in Maratea, connecting with local small businesses. Giuseppe Maimone, president of the recently established tourist association in Maratea, is responsible for building a network between locales and national and international clients. Giuseppe works to establish these networks, promoting local businesses and planning attractions and events, often receiving little to no pay. Giuseppe does not have access to consistent international communication, particularly outside of the tourist season. Work is abundant and intense during the summer months and extremely difficult to find in the winter months. This up-and-down lifestyle is very restrictive to the economic success of the younger generation, Giuseppe included.
Our relationship with him has illuminated the ubiquitous economic challenges of starting a business or association in Southern Italy, and the gaps for making this business or association economically viable in the long term. For Giuseppe and Maratea as a whole, PYMWYMI can help expand these networks and extend the tourist season, thus mitigating the effects of dramatically cyclical tourism. This partnership is strong and sustainable, thanks to the personal connections made through face-to-face interactions. We hope to create similar connections and partnerships with people like Giuseppe in other destinations during our research and development tour.
Years in operation: 6 months – 1 year