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Dr. Pramodita Sharma, who teaches at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, is an expert in family succession planning.

It is a familiar situation among entrepreneurs. Succession planning is not something enough business-owner parents talk about with their children.

Discussing it with family members is like having a sex talk with your 13-year-old son. It can be uncomfortable but it's necessary, says succession planning expert Dr. Pramodita Sharma, a first-generation immigrant who was born in India and also lived in Africa and Europe before coming to Canada.

For immigrant entrepreneurs - about one-sixth of immigrants are self-employed - the obstacles and sacrifices are daunting. Racism, discrimination, long hours, language barriers, not to mention meagre profits, can make running a family business challenging. But immigrant families often do it so their children, the second generation, can go to university. And they do.

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Dr. Sharma says a business needs at least a decade to create a succession plan. Immigrants might view their businesses as income generators and not necessarily something to pass on to their children. But, she adds, they still need a plan.

Dr. Sharma, who teaches at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, joined us for a live discussion on succession planning: How to start the process, how to get through it, and where you want to end up.





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