Dario MUSOLINO, Università della Valle d’Aosta, Italy
Federica VIGANO, Libera Università di Bolzano , Italy
Michela SPOTO, Università della Valle d’Aosta, Italy
Andrea SZEKELY, INRAE, France
This paper focuses on immigrant entrepreneurship in rural mountain areas; in particular, on the case of Aosta Valley, from the Italian side.
Its aim is to investigate and analyse whether immigrant entrepreneurs can establish themselves and successfully develop their own business in a remote mountain region of the Italian Alps; whether they can integrate in the local community, and therefore whether they can contribute to the socio-economic development of such a marginal region. Moreover, its objective is to analyse which (location) factors can attract immigrant entrepreneurs in this special territory.
The chosen region is interesting because of its special landscape, geographical location, namely and concretely border region, without a real common spirit of the places and common cross-border cooperation. Each side of the border try to well distinguish themselves from the Other. Meanwhile, the connection is based mostly on Italian side on multilingualism. Even on national scale, this region a special administrative category and legal status.
Our empirical investigation uses quantitative and qualitative research methods. Data based on main statistics at the local level, the qualitative investigations are based on a set of case-studies of immigrant entrepreneurs from different countries, and working in different sectors (retail trade, agri-food, tourism, construction).
Findings shows that these businesses have developed successfully, and they integrated in the local community, in social and cultural terms. Although peripheral location maybe a disadvantage for their business (low accessibility), Aosta valley offer several advantages, starting from the warmth and the welcoming of the local community (differently from urban /metro areas), and the quality of living (environmental assets). Immigrants coming from French speaking countries (Morocco) appreciate that in Aosta valley, as it is a region bordering with France, all people speak also French
Keywords: entrepreneurship|territorial attractiveness|Italy|border region|territorial development