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Values and Responsible Leadership, Key Elements of Success in Family Businesses in the World

  • November 30th, 2021
photo during the day

Monday, November 30th, 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 has the sponsorship of CaixaBank and Broseta, held the IV edition of the Family Business in the World Conference, in which the cases of Colombia and Ireland were discussed

Alejandro Escribá, director of the Chair of Family Business (CEFUV) and Professor at the University of Valencia, welcomed the attendees to the event and passed to Elena Fernández, general director of EDEM School of Entrepreneurs, who wanted to highlight that "for EDEM the family business has a very important role within the economy and tries to contribute to continue being so through training,  collaboration with international training centers, participating in research projects and through our collaboration with the Chair of Family Business".

Next, Diego Lorente, director and general secretary of the Valencian Association of Entrepreneurs (AVE) explained in reference to the Chair and its collaborators that "shared purposes generate collective successes and that, in addition, when working in an aligned way, the results are always better".

Elena Fernández. Directora General de EDEM 


Diego Lorente. Director y Secretario General de AVE


Mº Dolores Real. Vicerrectora de Innovación y Transferencia de la UV



For her part, the Vice-Rector for Innovation and Transfer of the University of Valencia, Mª Dolores Real, said that "the CEFUV is one of the oldest Chairs of the University of Valencia and one of the most visible for the quantity of activities it carries out and its quality, and represents a meeting point between the university and the business world".

Alejandro Escribá, director of CEFUV, presented the results of two of the lines of research developed by the chair: the GECE Observatory, developed by CaixaBank and Ivie with the support of the chair; and the STEP Project, a global research consortium in which the chair has participated since 2018. Professor Escribá explained that family businesses in the sectors with the greatest relative weight in the Valencian economy enjoyed a good level of competitiveness at the time of the outbreak of the pandemic, and that this has been key to their resilience, bearing the impact of this on the economy and helping to recover the pulse as restrictions have been relaxed. He also showed results from the STEP consortium in which he observes the great commitment of the family business to its closest social environment and its orientation of social responsibility during the hardest months of the pandemic.

Next, the situation of family businesses in Colombia was analyzed by the hand of the professor of the University of Andes, Luis Díaz-Matajira, who estimated that, in Colombia, 86% of the companies are family businesses.He said that succession is the main challenge for Colombian family businesses, since the vast majority are still in the first generation, and that in "Colombia we do not want to leave legacies, but an entrepreneurial legacy."

After his presentation, a round table took place, moderated by Alejandro Ríos, managing partner of Broseta, and with the participation of businessmen Guillermo Payá, CEO of Grupo ASV, and Miguel Juan, managing partner of S2 Grupo. According to Payá "the ingredients of international business success are the ability to identify and manage cultural differences and responsible and functional leadership." And he shared his experience in the implementation in this country in which "it took us two and a half years to reach Colombia, not because we were slow, but because it was a social process, in which our partner wanted to know us as a company and as a family."

Miguel Juan valued the entrepreneurial culture of Colombia but adding that there are many fiscal and bureaucratic obstacles to the creation of companies and that "investing in Colombia allowed us a greater specialization in Industrial Security". Colombia is a country that provides a relatively stable environment and in which there is a lot of talent to develop business initiatives.

Mesa Colombia: Luis Díaz-Matajira, Miguel Juan y Guillermo Payá


Mesa Irlanda: Eric Clinton, Raquel Castañón, José Herrando y Santiago Palop



Following this debate, Eric Clinton, Professor at Dublin City University, gave a presentation on family businesses in Ireland.According to Clinton, Irish family businesses are very focused on communities, on their CSR and effective communication, and leadership style is benevolent.

In the subsequent debate, moderated by Eva Torán, CaixaBank's area director, we had Raquel Castañón, Cafento's director of corporate resources, who said that "leading people in the family business means putting the focus on taking care of and developing our human capital.We are aware that the value contribution of our teams will depend on the fulfillment of our strategic plans" and she also added "Sharing international experiences that facilitate the consolidation, continuity and growth of our companies is always enriching and helps other companies to 'lose fear', see the opportunity and take steps towards the necessary internationalization in this global world in which we are," 

This table also had the businessman Santiago Palop, president of EMUCA, who highlighted the important opportunities that the Irish market opens, especially since Brexit occurred.Its assessment is that, despite being a relatively small market, it is an interesting market, with a good business level and with increasingly better and more direct connections with continental Europe without going through the United Kingdom.

José Herrando, industrial director of Saica Pack and Saica Flex, explained that family businesses in Ireland are loyal and committed to long-term relationships.He emphasised the approach to sustainability of Irish companies, an aspect that opens up great opportunities in the field of business with a strong environmental component. The high weight of the agri-food industry in Ireland is an attraction for a company like Saica.He also indicated that, in his case, the acquisition of subsidiaries that belonged to multinationals has led to the transfer of many good practices from the family business approach to a strongly professionalized context.

Alejandro Escribá. Director de CEFUV


Francisco Vallejo. Presidente del IVEFA


In the conclusions of the day, the director of the Chair, Alejandro Escribá stressed that the values of family businesses are a common element in any country when referring to the key aspects of success.He also pointed out that in the case of both Colombia and Ireland, the responsible nature of leadership in family businesses is being fundamental to consolidate the legacy of first-generation companies (in the case of Colombia) and to develop the productive economy and committed in the long term to sustainability and social progress in the case of Ireland. Institutional constraints are very influential in the durability of family businesses. The Colombian context requires a long-term vision, shared values, and the generation of trust to develop business in the country. In the case of the Irish context, tax legislation encourages early business successions, through bonuses for transfers that occur before the 65th anniversary of the generation in charge.

Francisco Vallejo, president of IVEFA, closed the day by highlighting the learning obtained in terms of good management practices, the international comparative perspective, the importance of professionalization and the challenge of succession from the perspective of incoming generations.He concluded by saying that: "The most important thing we have are values.If you have good values, you have good companies."

Ponente, promotores y patrocinadore de la Cátedra


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