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Intellectual capital's contribution to innovative female agri-start-ups: a multiple case study

Giuseppe Modaffari (Department of Law and Economics of Productive Activities, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Niccolò Paoloni (Department of Law, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy)
Martina Manzo (Department of Business Studies, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 4 August 2023

Issue publication date: 17 November 2023




Women-led enterprises can count on intellectual capital (IC) to implement a knowledge exchange process, improve managerial skills and provide themselves with more certain and reasonable financial resources. Recently, the literature has recognized a new paradigm of innovation, known as open innovation (OI) that emphasizes the strategic importance of relationships for knowledge development. The paper, first, aims to investigate if IC can support female agri-start-ups’ innovation process. Second, the aim is to analyse the ways in which IC supports female agri-start-ups.


The work uses a qualitative methodology and a multiple case study supports the paper. Data were acquired using direct semi-structured interviews. To read and interpret them, the authors resorted to the C.A.O.S. model that permits examining the direct relationships in terms of relational capital (RC) and also, observing the effect produced by the relational circuit in terms of human capital (HC) and structural capital (SC) in small and medium enterprises.


Findings reveal that RC plays a fundamental role in innovative start-up's development. The S-C and S-O links support business management and help fill the gender financial gap. This leads to improving entrepreneurial skills (HC) and promoting internal innovative solutions (SC). The S-A links can help the entrepreneur acquire more awareness of the market and compete better.


The research contributes to IC and gender studies, with a specific focus on RC and the innovation process. Although the literature has already investigated the role of RC in female entrepreneurship, only few previous research have conducted a qualitative analysis about the relationships established in the peculiar context of innovative agri-start-ups.



Modaffari, G., Paoloni, N. and Manzo, M. (2023), "Intellectual capital's contribution to innovative female agri-start-ups: a multiple case study", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 1506-1531.



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