Preparing for the future

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the share of African business leaders who feel confident about the economic situation in their countries of operation has dramatically plummeted, from 83% at the start of the year to around 25% currently. In this time of uncertainty, family businesses are struggling to be responsive, a trait of upmost importance in a crisis and one that is all too often a weak spot. How can family businesses instil a culture of agility, independence and innovation? How can they implement a leadership structure conducive to quick decision-making that allows them to come out on top of the current crisis? How can they make smart investments? How can they prepare for a new future and what will that future look like?

During the first ever Family Business Summit, more than 200 leading African family business leaders and shareholders will share their current and past experiences in order to turn the crisis into a source of opportunity. Over the course of six hours of conferences, themed workshops and networking events between economic leaders, the who’s who of the African family business world will also delve deeper into, through a practical approach, a number of key issues still facing them today: corporate governance, family governance, financing, generational handover, talent management, transaction structuring, etc.

Welcome address

Panel | Family business for good: getting involved in the crisis effort

The largest family-owned multinational corporations, including Volkswagen, Kering, Toyota and Samsung, are involved in philanthropic activities, more often than not through foundations. This also holds true for African family businesses, although it takes a more personalised form (Dangote, Motsepe, Dewji, etc.). More recently, to address the health crisis, a number of private sector initiatives, particularly spurred by family businesses, have flourished across the continent, including in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Morocco. How can you follow in these footsteps and make a positive mark on society as a whole? To what extent does social impact investment strengthen ties between family members? What kind of activities should you put in place? And how can you get started?


Key points

  • Impact: how to go about it and develop a strategy
  • Family philanthropy: making your heritage and values last
  • Reputation: philanthropy, a reflection of your company’s brand image

  • Expert and moderator

    Peter Vogel

    Director, IMD Global Family Business Center

  • Guest

    Nadia Terfous

    Managing Director, EoM Solutions


Workshop | How can we prepare the next generation to become responsible business owners?

In this interactive workshop, we will discuss how to educate and train the next generation to become responsible shareholders. Together, we will work on strategies to prepare this generation, as they become mature custodians of the family affairs, learning to steer the family business into the future and assume their responsibilities to the family, business, and to the wider community.

This event will draw on our 224 years of experience and on our own family business roots, with seven generations of family business owners succeeding each other at the helm of Lombard Odier. We will draw up some best practices together and develop a checklist on how to prepare the next generation of your families to become responsible owners.

Workshop | Finding the appropriate financing source for growth

More than three-fourths of family businesses have a hard time finding the right financing for their needs and end up using their own capital. However, if they want to continue to grow, they must diversify their financing sources. Debt, private equity, IPO, family financing: what are the advantages and disadvantages of each and how can you determine the most appropriate solution for your company?

Workshop | Family business for good: building your philanthropic pathway

At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the need to implement community outreach initiatives, this workshop will help you define your own philanthropic itinerary by assessing the “why”, “what”, “who” and “how” of your investment in philanthropy. Alongside the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), you will work on the main dimensions of this prestigious Swiss institution’s “family philanthropy navigator” tool.

  • Expert

    Peter Vogel

    Director, IMD Global Family Business Center

Panel | Opening up your capital: do financiers and family businesses speak the same language?

A vast majority of family business owners baulk at the idea of seeking out external funding because they are worried they will lose control of their company. Yet, there are many good reasons to open up your business’s capital, whether to finance growth, improve governance, prepare for a sale, etc. However, the risks involved are no less real, including loss of control following a dispute between shareholders and strategic divergence. Why open up your capital and under what terms and conditions? How can you choose the right partners? What financing options are available?


Key points

  • At what stage in development should you open up your capital? 
  • Strategy: how to reconcile financiers’ short-term profitability requirements with family businesses’ long-term vision 
  • How can you promote your business to investors?


Workshop | How to make the most of your assets by forming a holding company

As family businesses further diversify, the number of their entities and subsidiaries grows. This is why it is important to structure your assets using a parent company, in the manner of the world’s largest family businesses. Learn about the different ways in which you can consolidate your business activities under a holding company.

Keynote address | Continuity and longevity: why family businesses withstand crises

From Louis Dreyfus Holding to Merck, Cargill, Ford and many others, most of the world’s oldest companies are family owned. Ethical values, a constant ability to adapt, long-term planning and an entrepreneurial spirit: the most iconic family businesses demonstrate all of these characteristics, which contributed to their strength. What lessons can be learned from the world’s oldest family businesses? And how can you integrate these lessons while tailoring them to your own business’s specificities?


Key points

  • Case study: what lessons can be learned from the world’s oldest family businesses?
  • Why do family businesses handle crises better and why is adaptation to change part of their DNA?
  • Accountability, vision, adaptability and trust-based relationships between employees and family owners: understanding the soundness of family businesses

  • Expert

    Jennifer Pendergast

    Executive Director of the Center for Family Enterprises, Kellogg School of Management