The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry CEO Marthese Portelli has highlighted that family businesses have to grow in ways to become more resilient when faced with economic changes.
She was speaking during a press conference to launch a course named “Award in Leading a Family Business”, organised by The Malta Chamber in collaboration with EMCS Academy and the Family Business Office in Malta.
The course aims to offer trainees a combination of lectures, tutorials and coaching, providing them with the opportunity to interact with their peers and freely discuss topics brought forward. In doing so, they will be provided with abstract and concrete solutions to problems related to family businesses. It is the first of its kind to be offered in Malta and has been accredited by the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority at MQF/EQF Level 5.
Dr Portelli emphasised that since family businesses amount to more than 70 per cent of Malta’s SMEs, they are a “vital component” of the local economy.
“This confirms why we need family businesses to be resilient and to grow in the proper way allowing them to broaden their horizons and to become even more resilient in the face of change,” she said.
She underlined the alarming statistic from a recent survey conducted together with EMCS that stated that less than 35 per cent of family businesses have a written succession and strategic plan. However, she also explained that family businesses showed their willingness to up their game when it comes to corporate governance, strategic planning, green initiatives, and digitalisation efforts.
“To this end, The Malta Chamber encourages all family businesses to take up this accredited course and to avail themselves of funding support offered by Malta Enterprise and Jobsplus,” she concluded.
The Malta Chamber President Chris Vassallo Cesareo noted that “family businesses have long been the cornerstone of economies around the world”.
“They possess a unique blend of tradition, values, and resilience that set them apart from other enterprises,” he said, before adding that The Malta Chamber “has always been a catalyst for this sector to survive as times change and markets evolve”.
“It’s crucial for family businesses to adapt, upgrade, remain competitive and sustainable,” he continued.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli said that Government “deeply values the significance of continuous training, reskilling, and fostering skill enhancement”.
“By extending the Skills Development Scheme through Malta Enterprise, we aim to empower growth within Malta’s businesses. Our commitment is further underscored by the Family Business Office, offering invaluable support and initiatives,” she added.
She remarked that these resources “extend a helping hand to family businesses”, not just through financial means, but also advisory, consultancy, and mediation services.
“I urge all family businesses to use these tools. The right skills, can ensure a smooth transition of family businesses from one generation to the next,” Minister Dalli explained.
Joseph Gerada, Regulator at the Family Business Office, explained that Malta has made “great strides in policy and regulation for family business” over the past 10 years.
“However, just eight years ago, as Government, we were still discussing the salient characteristics of what truly makes a family business and why these need to be recognised and supported more. In 2017 we agreed on a definition, and legislated to encourage the regulation of family businesses, their governance and the transfer of the family business from one generation to the next,” he explained.
“Today, we are achieving a new milestone with the launch of these accredited training courses intended to provide those involved in family businesses with the necessary skillset to lead the family business towards success,” Dr Gerada emphasised.
Silvan Mifsud, Council Member and Chair of the Family Business Committee within The Malta Chamber, said that the launch marks an “important step”, as it will enable all those involved in family businesses to “acquire all the necessary skills to be able to lead successfully and in a more professional way”.
EMCS Academy Director Ramon Muscat said that the academy is “proud” to be launching the course, which “seeks to empower entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge, skills, and competences to effectively lead a family business using a strategic mindset”.
He remarked that the course will target aspects relating to the setting up of the appropriate corporate governance structures to ensure a system of checks and balances coupled with the right policies, ensuring the family business becomes a data-driven organisation. That way, decisions will be based on timely data reporting and analysis, while family business leaders will become “knowledgeable about all the steps and variations that have to be considered along the succession planning journey”.
The first cohort of the course will start in November 2023 and will run until April 2024, with a maximum of 15 trainees being accepted. Registrations will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Malta Chamber CEO Marthese Portelli / The Malta Chamber
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