Place-based business models for resilient local economies: Cases from Italian slow food, agritourism and thealbergo diffuso

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This purpose of this paper is to introduce and analyze the concept of place-based business models, by which entrepreneurs use highly context-specific strategies and linkages to a "sense of place" as sources of value creation. To illustrate how place-based business models create unique value, case studies are reviewed from three sectors in Italy: Slow Food (Coop Italia and Eataly), agritourism (Spannocchia) and thealbergo diffuso (Sextantio).


This is a conceptual paper with case studies from qualitative data and external sources.


The case studies demonstrate the value-creating potential of opportunities for the implementation of place-based business models. In contrast with conventional harm reduction perspectives, these models show how organizational contributions to local and regional resilience may also directly generate competitive advantage. The cases also illustrate challenges such as scaling up while maintaining authenticity, and coping with the public goods-nature of place-based resources.


Conventional management theory and practice treat environmental context as a distraction from which the technical core of the organization must be protected. Place-based business models diverge from convention by using tight coupling with local context to create value, enhance local economic resilience and contribute to a "sense of place".


  • Agritourism
  • Business models
  • Resilience
  • Sense of place
  • Slow food
  • Value creation


  • Economics
  • Natural Resource Economics

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