Family businesses drivers of economy

Family businesses have become major economic drivers constituting 75 per cent of the economy of the Gulf States, said chairman of Family Business Network-GCC Abdulaziz Al Ghurair quoting reports conducted by the American Corporate Governance Institute – Hawkamah Institute and Booz Allen. The retail sector accounts for almost 72 per cent of the total business of family-owned companies, the financial sector 64 per cent, and real estate 56 per cent, said the Dubai-based businessman and CEO of Mashreq bank.

He was speaking at a gala dinner for a group of Qatari families attended by various leaders and decision makers involved in local family businesses as well. The event was the first initiative of its kind aimed at strengthening communication channels among family business owners in Qatar and across the Gulf.

The meeting was hosted upon the special arrangement of Alfardan Group in support of the initiatives of the Network. FBN-GCC has had great success in encouraging dialogue on joint mechanisms to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship, excellence, corporate governance, and transparency among family businesses which have become mainstays for advancing economic and social development in Qatar and Arabian Gulf.

The results of the discussions during the event will significantly contribute to the development of future strategies and plans of family businesses in Qatar and across the Gulf. This comes at a time when family businesses are playing increasingly major roles as powerful economic agents within the GCC markets. The region currently hosts 5,000 family-owned companies with total revenues collectively worth $600 billion according to figures released by the Institute for Corporate Governance (Hawkamah).

President and CEO of Alfardan Group, Omar Hussain Alfardan, highlighted that the success of family businesses in the Gulf is a result of decades of traditions, values and ideas that have been handed down from generation to generation, from fathers to their sons; these values and success stories serve as examples to follow to this day in terms of entrepreneurship and perseverance in achieving success and excellence despite numerous challenges.

These models have effectively contributed to the region’s rise as a leading global economic power; pointing out that family businesses in Qatar have the flexibility and the ability to cope with local, regional and global changes and compete with the largest international companies in providing the best services in similar areas. Such businesses can also create new job opportunities for young people and a suitable environment that encourages innovation and nurtures emerging talents to complement the broader efforts towards sustained growth and overall development.

During the event, Al Ghurair discussed the goals and initiatives of FBN-GCC, which was founded in 2012 as a private non-profit organization to represent the leading family businesses in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and UAE. He highlighted the vision of the Network towards encouraging and facilitating knowledge transfer and the dissemination of best practices that ensure continuity among family businesses and maintain professional values and social responsibility across generations.

FBN-GCC is a part of Family Business Network International, an organization established in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland to boost the growth and sustainability of family businesses throughout the world. The Network’s goals are achieved through the creation of direct channels for exchanging best international practices and the latest innovative ideas as well as instilling family values among the new generations. The organization also reveals effective methods for competing strongly within the local, regional and international markets.

Family Business Network International currently has more than 6,500 members from 57 countries. It focuses on organizing international networking events and disseminating new knowledge via the Internet. It also provides high-level training for new generations that will take over the leadership of family businesses in the future. The Network conducts regular meetings for members twice a year, one of which was hosted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

FBN GCC - Group Photo
Some of the participants at the gala dinner in Doha, Qatar.