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‘Keep family business alive’

Natasha Beckles

‘Keep family business alive’

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Structures need to be put in place to ensure the longevity and success of family-owned businesses in Barbados, says Barbados National Bank’s (BNB) managing director and chief executive officer Derwin Howell.
He was speaking at BNB’s quarterly business seminar on Family Business Succession Planning which was hosted in conjunction with Republic Bank Ltd and KPMG at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“I heard of the many local family businesses that did not make it to the second generation. I heard the stories of James A. Tudor, London Bourne, of the Rollock Five and Ten, of N.E. Wilson, Leo Leacock and many others.
“I heard the stories of their success from humble beginnings as artisan or merchant or service providers and their pursuit of education of their children so that they might become doctors or lawyers,” he said.
Howell said these stories show that family businesses grow and flourish for a time, then die unless structures are put in place to ensure their longevity.
He noted that their contribution to the economy also dies, since people are laid off and the country loses revenue from taxes.
“Traditionally, family businesses pass from father to son and sometimes to daughter. What about a nephew or a niece, or an enterprising employee or identifying someone from outside the company altogether?
He said BNB saw its role as not only providing financial assistance but working towards building successful businesses through information and tools.
Howell said the bank intends to launch an SME Toolkit in Barbados in the next few months which will provide “the latest information and communication technologies to help small and medium-sized enterprises learn sustainable business practices to help them grow and prosper”.
The SME Toolkit has already been launched in Trinidad and Tobago and in Guyana.