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Networking for the future

Jesus Casado is director de relaciones empresariales de IEF and a member of the FBN International executive committee.

The Next Generation international event, due to be held in May this year, is a good opportunity for young entrepreneurs to share experiences and knowledge in a stimulating environment. Jesus Casado examines what's on offer for next generation members

The next generation is the future of the family business. One of the main reasons a lot of entrepreneurs do not sell the company is because they seek to transfer the company they have created to their own family or to leave the business they have inherited in better shape for their successors. There is also a reputation to maintain, concern for the value in their community and a social responsibility.

At the same time, according to the recent research work from Alberto Gimeno, "X-ray of the Family Business in Spain" (November 2006), the entrepreneurship capacity of the next generation is the most relevant factor influencing succession planning. Results from this independent study of over 2,000 families surveyed showed that succession is easier when the next generation have inspiration, projects and vitality. A possible reason for this is that the older generation is keener to open the process of succession when there is a high motivation by the succeeding generation. If that push is not strong enough, the generation in power prefers to wait until this energy and interest are developed.

In order to facilitate a good succession it is essential that the next generation expresses its motivation to continue with the business. This motivation is related to being involved with the company, which does not necessarily mean adopting the role of CEO. That is why communication is the second issue to take into account for a good succession process.

These issues of both entrepreneurship capacity and communication will be explored in the Next Generation international event in Alicante, Spain. For the first time in FBN history, the FBN Next Generation and a national FBN chapter (Instituto de la Empresa Familiar) will jointly organise an event, including the essential participation of the Alicante Association of Family Business. This major event seeks to consolidate FBN Next Generation as an integrated group of young entrepreneurs from all around the world and, at the same time, provide international exposure to the Spanish members.

The participants will have the chance to explore the management of adversity with Gustavo Zervino, one of the 16 survivors of the Andes plane crash in 1972, as well as debate in working groups, moderated by Christine Blondel from INSEAD, the sometimes challenging issues of joining the family business. Yuelin T. Yang from Singapore (IMC Pan Asia) and Joaquín Uriach, from Spain (Corporación Uriach), will share their experiences of joining their companies, including the complex cultural realities involved. "What's in the mind of a leader, the secret of success" will be brought to participants by Guy Forget, the international tennis player and coach of the French tennis team.

There will also be various leisure activities included on the programme, such as an unforgettable paella contest on the beach, a medieval show and a dinner dance on the Alicante harbour. We believe that in order to create a solid and lasting community of people that are willing to share experiences and knowledge in the future some free time for fun and getting together is essential to reinforce the links between the participants of the event.

This event will be the basis of a future strong FBN Next Generation group, a great opportunity to become familiar with Spanish culture and its traditions and, of course, a great way to learn in a fun, stimulating and international environment.

fbn, next generation, NXG, Governance
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