HEC Montréal releases the most in-depth look at family businesses in Quebec
L’Album de familles 2020
January 28, 2021
Although passing the torch to the next generation is the priority for 63% of family businesses, only 27% are formally preparing to do so. This is one of the observations in a statistical study entitled L’Album de familles 2020, released on January 28 by Familles d’affaires | HEC Montréal, a research centre on business families, backed by Deschênes | Molson | Lesage.
The “family album” looks at 443 firms in an effort to paint a clearer portrait of these essential pillars of the economy, so as to better inform political decision makers, business advisors and business families themselves.
The study was conducted in partnership with the National Bank | HEC Montréal Institute for Entrepreneurship and with the special collaboration of the Fondation des familles entrepreneuriales. It is intended to be published every two years.
Shedding light on current issues
These results are the first of their kind in Canada. They provide information on the situation of family businesses and the issues now facing them: job parity, succession, governance, new generations, and COVID-19.
“Thanks to the results of this statistical study, and to the guidance and advice of acknowledged local experts, we finally have meaningful and representative information on the challenges and needs of the wide variety of business families throughout Quebec,” explains Luis Cisneros, Scientific Director of the Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Acquisition and Business Families Hub. “The organizations that advise, finance and support them will now be able to offer more relevant services and better understand their clientele.”
Some highlights of the study
Concerning succession planning and the shift to digital technology:
- For 63.1% of family businesses, passing the torch to the next generation is considered one of the most important objectives, even though only 27% have a formal plan and 30% have an informal plan.
- Most of the family businesses surveyed say that they need to improve their skills to handle or accelerate the shift to digital technology.
Concerning the COVID-19 pandemic:
- 44.2% of family businesses say they have made changes to provide essential goods and services.
- 52.1% have made an effort to develop their firm’s research and development capacity.
- In April 2020, 70% of the heads of family businesses said they were confident or even very confident about the future of their firm.
- In 34.8% of firms, family members who were not working in the business have now taken on various tasks in it.
About future generations and parity in company management:
- 20% of the business heads surveyed were women.
- When women head family businesses, there is greater parity between the two sexes on executive teams, advisory committees and boards of directors.
- In the 25–34 age group, there is parity in the firm’s executive and the management team.