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The agility, commitment and determination of the Family Business, key in its response to the pandemic

  • May 12nd, 2021
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Today, Wednesday, May 12th, the Chair of Family Business (CEFUV) promoted by the Valencian Association of Entrepreneurs (AVE), the School of Entrepreneurs (EDEM), the Valencian Institute for the Study of Family Business (IVEFA), the Institute of Family Business (IEF) and the University of Valencia (UV), and which is sponsored by Broseta and CaixaBank, has held a new breakfast-talk under the title of "Resilience and transforming capacity of the Family Business in times of COVID-19".

After a brief introduction by Alejandro Escribá, professor at the University of Valencia and director of the Chair of Family Business (CEFUV), in which he stressed that Family Companies during the global pandemic have faced the situation in an entrepreneurial spirit, ambition to overcome and with a strong social commitment, a colloquium has taken place with Mª Carmen Bañuls (CEO of Ricard Camarena Group) and Dario Grimalt (Ale-hop advisor) in which two have been illustrated examples of the responses given by these two companies operating in sectors highly affected by COVID-19. The speakers have conveyed to attendees their experience with how their companies have resisted impact and managed to transform and reinvent themselves in difficult times.

Ricard Camarena is a restaurant created in the midst of the economic crisis of 2012 in Valencia. Taste, product and good service have succeed in the gastronomic world. Within a few months of opening the restaurant, it achieved his Michelin star in record time, to which he added three Repsol Soles. Mª Carmen Bañuls said during the event that "we, rather than talking about resilience, talk about responsibility. A lot of the decisions we made were thinking about our stakeholders."

"Guys, (to their children) live this as something unbelievable which your children and grandchildren will have to study in the history books and you will be able to tell it”

Mª Carmen Bañuls


Ale-hop is a family business with more than 20 years of experience, founded by Vicente Grimalt. Its mission is to offer fun and original products, providing the customer with an amazing and fun shopping experience. Dario Grimalt highlighted the commitment of the Ale-Hop staff: "At a time as difficult as the first two months of COVID, with all Ale-Hop stores closed, or we leave the boat or shrink the water. I could see how the Ale-Hop team started to shrink the water, doing a great job".

"Consistency, effort, illusion and a healthy economy are the key factors in moving forward”

Darío Grimalt

During the colloquium, the speakers addressed how they dealt with the pandemic, both at the initial time and as the restrictions lengthened over time. In both cases, a healthy financial situation and a determination to seize the moment to strengthen, renew and prepare to be even more competitive at the time of reactivation have been decisive in overcoming one of the most complex stages they had to live.

Darío Grimalt has highlighted the commitment shown by its employees and the effort that the company has made to carry out an internal revolution, materialized in many improvement projects, plans of digitization and renewal of the points of sale that will strengthen the positioning of the company and that will open new opportunities for growth in new market segments and geographical areas. For her part, Mª Carmen Bañuls has highlighted the flexibility and agility of Ricard Camarena Group to adapt to changes in conditions, the responsibility they felt for all their employees and suppliers, and the learning that has led them to launch new ways of focusing the activity and catering service. Many of these initiatives will continue in the future, beyond the current situation. A solvent financial structure and a strong orientation to self-financing allowed them to face the first impact and develop future projects.


With regard to the near future, both Grimalt and Bañuls are confident that the old routines will return, and with it, tourists and social activity will be revitalized, but they are also aware that new factors have appeared, and that the profile of customers has also changed and will need to be adapted to their new preferences.

In the conclusions of breakfast, the director of the Chair, Alejandro Escribá has emphasized that family companies are characterized by their strong commitment to the project, to employees, suppliers and customers, and also to society. Their resilience and determination to maintain activity and employment, as well as their social responsibility actions in the territories in which they operate, have been fundamental in the last year and are worthy of the greatest recognition by society.

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