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BEDC to host family business event

The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation is to host a family business event on Friday evening.

“It's a Family Affair” will be held at Goslings Wine Cellar and is aimed at those who work in or own family businesses.

As one of the events to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week next month, it will feature international guest speaker Ted Knowles of Northeastern University Centre for Family Business.

The event will also feature a panel of local business owners including Irvin Hendrickson of Hendy's Laundromat, Denise Riviere of Bull's Head Car Wash, Zach Moniz of Lindo's Group of Companies and Charles Gosling of Goslings Ltd, who will share some of their insights on topics such as “I will never do that again”, “Things that keep you up at night” and “This is how you do it”.

Leading family businesses are invited to come together during the event to celebrate, network and exchange ideas. The BEDC said the event is not about sharing industry secrets but about listening and discussing the personal experience side of owning a family business.

Raymond Lambert, business development officer at BEDC, said: “This thought-provoking evening will engage and inspire family business owners with advice from leading family business experts. Family businesses will discover ideas and solutions for the top family business issues that keep them up at night. They will be given practical, real-life solutions that can be put to use right away. It will also be an evening to celebrate Bermuda's leading family businesses and celebrate their importance to Bermuda.”

Family businesses are the backbone of Bermuda and can be found in virtually every business sector. They are creators, globally, creating over 60 per cent of the companies and up to 80 per cent of employment. However, working with family or taking over the family business isn't always the easiest.

There are many issues that can occur such as families falling out, other family members not wanting to work in the same business or descendants not interested in taking over the business.

The event will explore these topics and give attendees a chance to listen to and discuss ideas.

Ted Knowles, who was a member of the second generation in his family business, said, “When family business works it can't be beat. Family businesses are different and coveted because they have unique personal aspects in addition to the business side. Leveraging these personal aspects truly differentiates them from others and provides a competitive edge that can't be matched.”

Mr Knowles' family grew the business, Potpourri Group, a specialty catalogue retailer located in Boston, from a small kitchen table start-up into a $150 million family business enterprise with over 200 employees. The company grew organically through five start-ups and the merger/acquisition of five other businesses but maintained a small family business corporate culture while professionalising the business through rapid growth.

“In my own family's business, I have experienced firsthand the growth challenges and successes from a small startup into a successful large enterprise,” Mr Knowles said. “Relationships were key to the growth by having employees feel a part of the extended family and treating suppliers more as partners. The business also experienced several hardships including a labour strike, a near-mutiny because of a non-family manager, the death of a co-founder and the eventual sale of the business. We turned these hardships into opportunities to make the business stronger and more successful.”

He added: “I share these experiences to help family businesses learn to identify and anticipate future issues by using personal, real-life, practical solutions for problem-solving, rather than textbook theory.”

It's A Family Affair will take place on Friday, November 2 from 5.30pm to 8.30pm at Goslings Wine Cellar. For more information, visit www.bedc.bm, e-mail info@bedc.bm or call 292-5570

Family business: Denise Riviere, one of the panellists to appear at the BEDC's family business event on Friday (File photograph)

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Published October 31, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated October 31, 2018 at 9:06 am)

BEDC to host family business event

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