The business system was the conformation of the firm prevalent among principal Tuscan economic operators in the late fourteenth century. It represented an evolution when compared to the system of undivided companies, but also with regard to divided companies (mother company and affiliates) which had characterised the end of the thirteenth century and the first three quarters of the fourteenth century and which, by virtue of their organisational and financial features, had caused, among other things, the tremendous bankruptcies that occurred in that period.
The characteristic elements of such a system are substantially three:
  • each of the units converging into it (one-man businesses or collective companies, decentralised business concerns - with any branches they may have - and specialised companies) usually has the features of an undivided company, endowed, therefore, with juridical autonomy and self-sufficiency in resources, different from the others not only in form and patrimonial contributions, but also in the nature of operation;
  • each of these is, however, marked in a determining way by the presence of the biggest one (the entrepreneur that the whole system refers to): his majority in capital, his association of participation, his pre-eminence in function, his moral influence);
  • all companies operate within the logic of the "system", organisationally and opportunely linking up (by virtue of their nature and concommitance of interest) to the information network that they constitute, thanks to the centrality of the directional function of the entrepreneur.

The exercise of the system is rounded off through the use of numerous extraneous companies, which it sometimes, or even permanently, attracts into its sphere and it may endow itself with its own correspondents and representatives, consequently increasing chances of branching out. The service of representation is reciprocal: in this way, a synergy is activated between principal economic operators in Italy, for penetration into those areas of greater commercial interest.

Classification by form:
  • two one-man businesses (in Florence and Prato)
  • eight collective companies (Avignon, Genoa, Pisa, Catalonia - Barcelona, with the branches at Valenza and Majorca - two at Prato and one in Florence)
Classification by type of activity:
  • six merchant companies (one of which is a one-man busines)
  • two industrial concerns (wool and dyeing companies)
  • one banking concern
  • one domestic, non-trading concern which is at the same time merchant (Prato)

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