The aim of this work is to reflect on the relationship existing between ethics-based entrepreneurial values, the values associated with local territories and the best practices of small and medium-sized enterprises in promoting pathways to sustainable development. The attention herein is focused on a territory’s intangible assets (social capital) and on human relations (relational capital), which may be considered facilitators that inspire a way of doing business capable of meeting human needs, creating and strengthening shared values, and generating a virtuous cycle of company and community prosperity. After a brief description of the theoretical framework of reference, the qualitative analysis of two Italian companies is carried out. These firms, strongly embedded in their local socio-economic environment, reveal the capacity to cooperate in constructing the common good and offer precious testimony to a different, more successful way of doing business or being businesspeople, and building the socio-economic environment.
Keywords: values, ethics, sustainability, small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, territory