The growing strength of family businesses

Komerčný obsah

Organisation of a family business

The discussion panel, which included Maria Magdalena Kwiatkiewicz, cofounder of jewellery firm Yes, Adam Rozwadowski, head of Enel-Med, Yves Sarasin, director of the Polish representative office of the bank Sarasin & Co., and other speakers, described how family interests evolve and how duties are assigned within a family firm. Much attention was also devoted to legal issues.

Owners of family firms and experts from various countries and fields explained how to prepare for inheritance in order to assure proper functioning of the business going forward. They also discussed methods for organising family firms in order to keep business assets separate from personal assets.

Family businesses join the mainstream

According to a study of family businesses commissioned by the EU under the European Social Fund, “Final Report of the Expert Group: Overview of Family-Business-Relevant Issues,” in the past family businesses were generally not treated as a major factor in commerce. This began to change in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since then, the subject of family businesses has gradually joined the mainstream of scholarly and political discussion in Europe and worldwide. A similar trend has also been noticeable in Poland in recent years.

In its research, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry has recognised the role of family businesses in economic and social life. In 2007, the EC appointed the Expert Group on Family Business, with members from all EU member states, including Poland. The group’s final report, issued in November 2009, stressed that even though most of the problems of family businesses are the same as those of other micro enterprises and SMEs, there are also challenges specific to family businesses, such as financial issues related to inheritance and gift taxes, access to financing without losing control of the firm, favourable tax treatment of reinvested profits, a lack of awareness by family firms of the importance of early planning of multigenerational business transfers, difficulties in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, and the lack of management training and research on issues specific to family businesses.

European Regional Forum

The European Regional Forum, organised by the International Bar Association, was devoted this year to the opportunities and challenges facing businesses in the new member states of the EU and their prospects for the future.

The purpose of the conference, according to the organisers, was to discuss current economic and legal issues which businesses must deal with both in their home countries and when conducting cross-border investments within Central & Eastern Europe. The conference was a platform for exchange of views and experiences between businesses from Poland and other European countries. was a media partner of the IBA European Regional Forum

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