Business families in transition: finding your own way

Short programme ‘Families in Business’ coaches business families from the second generational change onwards

The debates that accompany the handover of a business to a new generation in the family are often only conducted among the family members who play an active role in the business. “But it is at least as important to maintain a good relationship and clear arrangements between active and non-active family members, across the generations”, says Professor Philippe Haspeslagh, an expert in family businesses. “In this programme, we and our partners KBC and EY help families in business find their own way. We do this with research results and benchmarks, by exchanging experiences with other families and providing coaching tailored to the family.”

Many Flemish family businesses have expanded and become increasingly professional in recent years, partly thanks to our successful Impulse Centre ‘Growth Management for Medium-Sized Enterprises’ (IGMO). “If you are a family in business that wants to grow and continue managing everything together, you will actually find yourselves in a constant state of transition – whether in terms of shareholding, the transfer of management roles from one generation to the next or anything else”, Professor Haspeslagh explains. At the Centre for Family Business, we don’t just aim to conduct applied and academic research into these transitions, but also to provide concrete assistance to families in business, helping them put delicate issues onto the table between active and non-active family members, older and younger generations. How do you keep the family involved? How does the family represent its shareholders? What role do they play and what skills do they need? The non-active members are probably not as familiar with the issues as the active members, such as the paterfamilias or the CEO, but they are important to provide a broader view. Maybe everyone is equal in the family, but the same does not apply in the business.

“Maybe everyone is equal in the family, but the same does not apply in the business.” Professor Philippe Haspeslagh

The ‘Families in Business’ programme is a perfect complement to the existing entrepreneurship programmes. So it is a good thing, and only logical, that we can count on the support of the same loyal partners, KBC and EY, for this programme as well. Philippe Haspeslagh explains: “Our years of collaboration with KBC and EY have allowed us to build up a relationship of trust with many of these families. After all this time, we are on the same wavelength and speak the same language.”

How does this partnership at the Centre for Family Business fit into KBC and EY’s strategy?

“Integrated value proposition”

Patrick Couttenier - KBCPatrick Couttenier, commercial director for companies in East and West Flanders at KBC: “We have been actively approaching family businesses for years from our corporate banking, retail banking and private banking business lines. We are currently working on an integrated value proposition under the heading, ‘Families in Transition’, that supersedes the business lines and takes the family business itself as its starting point. The needs of a family business also change as its life cycle progresses: sometimes those needs are purely financial, sometimes strategic and at other times they need a sounding board. For us, a partnership like this is the cement between our products, allowing us to stay relevant to entrepreneurial families across the generations.”

“Natural complement”

“Family businesses represent a specific target group for EY, because their issues require specific services. That makes this partnership with Vlerick a very natural complement to our international EY Family Business Center of Excellence. Within that centre, we work in three areas: research, training – take the NextGen Academy, for example – and support. A holistic approach, based on the company’s values, is very important in our approach to family businesses. And you see that reflected in this programme, too: participants can come to Vlerick for management and coaching advice, to KBC for financial expertise and to EY for technical expertise.”

Patrick Rottiers - EY
Patrick Rottiers, Country Managing Partner at EY Belgium

Eric Van Hoof - EY
Eric Van Hoof, Partner & Family Business Leader at EY Belgium

‘Families in Business’ programme
Who is it for?
< business families with medium or large companies in the second or subsequent generations
< 3 to 5 active and non-active members of the two generations
3.5 days spread over two residential sessions
< from Thursday 22/02/2018 at 13:00 to Saturday 24/02/2018 at 13:00
< from Friday 23/03/2018 at 13:00 to Saturday 24/03/2018 at 18:00
Each session consists of
< a general session led by a coach specialised in family businesses
< two confidential sessions: 1 with a coach and 1 with each other
The coaches have experience with the complexity of family relationships and the relationship between families and companies