Industry experts during a panel discussion at Sharjah Investment Forum on Thursday.
The Sharjah Investment Forum 2023 played host to a transformative panel discussion, delving into the implications of family businesses and the success of investment in the future of the region. The panel also illuminated the complex landscape of opportunities and obstacles faced by family businesses in this era of unrelenting economic change and the fact that they made up over 90% of the private sector in Sharjah.
The enlightening talk titled “The Future of Family Business and its Impact in the Region” brought together esteemed industry leaders, Halima Al Owais, Board Member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce, Mishal Hamed Kanoo, Chairman of The Kanoo Group, Khalid Al Yahmadi, Executive Chairman of Amjaad Holding (Oman), under the moderation of Gretta Habib, Senior Associate at Al Tamimi & Co.
Halima Al Owais acknowledged the tremendous impact that family businesses have on the region’s economy, representing a significant portion of the private sector. She stated that in the UAE, family businesses comprise 80% of the sector, a figure that rises even higher in Sharjah, accentuating the criticality of supporting and fostering the growth of family businesses in the region.
Mishal Hamed Kanoo delved into the significance of succession planning, emphasising the bridging of skills and leadership to the next generation as a crucial factor. He opined: “Succession planning is the cornerstone of family businesses’ future. It is imperative that we plan for the transfer of knowledge and leadership to the next generation to ensure the longevity and success of these businesses for years to come.”
Khalid Al Yahmadi, Executive Chairman of Amjaad Holding (Oman), underscored the crucial role that family businesses play in driving economic growth, creating employment opportunities, and contributing to community development. He started: “Family businesses make a huge difference in driving the economy and supporting communities. As a family business ourselves, we understand the challenges and importance of maintaining the legacy of the business for future generations.”
The panel also discussed recent legal measures to support family businesses in the region. The Family Business Law in the UAE, established in 2018, offers a legal framework and benefits like tax incentives and minority shareholder protection, also mentioning the new corporate tax law in the UAE which provides tax benefits for family-owned enterprises. Khalid Al Yahmadi noted that these legal measures will aid family businesses in staying competitive amid changing economic conditions.
Some of the points shared unanimously by the speakers were the unique perspectives that family businesses bring to the business world, characterised by the long-term vision and focus on preserving the legacy of their companies as well as having close relationships with their customers and suppliers, leading to a more personalised approach to doing businesses. The panellists also delved into the difficulties faced by family businesses as they strive to remain competitive in an ever-evolving economic climate.
They stressed the need for a strategic approach to overcome these challenges, balancing the preservation of tradition with the integration of innovation. With regards to the future of these businesses, the panellists disclosed the importance of ensuring that the best person for the job is employed, regardless of their relation to the family or their place in the line of succession.