Younger family business owners are the most committed to preserving the family business and want to play a key role in sustaining its legacy for future generations, according to research by Family Enterprise Foundation. The survey revealed that 97 per cent of next-generation respondents consider it important to sustain the family business, while only 74 per cent of senior generation respondents feel the same.
“There is a generational shift occurring that challenges conventional thinking that next gens are not ready, willing or interested in the family business. In fact, they value the enterprise their family has built and want to preserve it. Our research shows that younger owners have as much, if not more, interest in retaining family control and preserving the business for their children,” says Olivier de Richoufftz, general secretary, Family Enterprise Foundation.
The foundation’s research on the transition intentions of Canadian family businesses was conducted by Abacus Data in June 2021 and published in the report “Who are the Guardians of Family Legacy?”
The “family” piece of the business is important to all family members who work in a family enterprise. A large percentage think it’s extremely, very or somewhat important to build a sustainable business (91 per cent), work together as a family (88 per cent) and have someone within the family take over the business (77 per cent). However, there are significant differences in the level of importance assigned to these and other aspects of family business legacy, depending on the generation of respondents.
A comparison between younger (18- to 44-year-olds) and older (45+) respondents shows the family business “spirit” is strongest in younger owners, especially when it comes to succession and desire for long-term family control:
- Expectations are highest among younger respondents of continued family ownership of the business, with 87 per cent expecting to see company ownership remain in future generations, compared to 70 per cent of older respondents.
- The importance placed on direct family leadership of the business also diminishes among older family members, as 95 per cent of younger respondents feel that family taking over has some importance, compared to their older counterparts at 65 per cent.
Family Enterprise Foundation is the charitable foundation of Family Enterprise Canada. As the unified voice of family enterprise in Canada, Family Enterprise Foundation focuses on developing educational resources, conducting research, building a strong and connected ecosystem and promoting the success and sustainability of entrepreneurial families and their enterprises to ensure intergenerational longevity.
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