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Salvatore Tomaselli, Gianna Agrò, Gioacchino Fazio and Stefano Fricano

This chapter presents the early results of research aiming to define the nature and characteristics of family businesses in a specific geographical area, and their interrelationships with regional dimensions that boost or hinder regional growth and development. It does so by assuming as its area of observation the geographical area of the fishing district of Mazara del Vallo, the most important Italian fishing port and the second largest in the Mediterranean basin. The authors collected information both about the economic, institutional, cultural, and evolutionary context and about the businesses in the fishing supply chain in the area. In doing so they performed reviews of documents and reports, as well as a survey run through questionnaires administered to 68 businesses in the different areas of the fishing supply chain. To analyze the information collected through the questionnaires they used both descriptive statistics and multidimensional analysis of qualitative data, namely multiple correspondence analysis (MCA). The analysis gives a picture, albeit not an exhaustive one, of the main characteristics of the socio-economic context, geography, and time of the area of Mazara del Vallo, and of the firms in the fishing supply chain, also allowing some understanding to be reached of the effect of context (understanding “context” with a general and broad meaning) on firm behavior and performance.