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Entrepreneurship and resilience in tough times: lessons from leading family businesses - 19 Jan 2021

Family businesses, one of the most persistent and common forms of business organization in the world, are often characterized by strong resilience. That is, the ability to persist in the face of substantial changes in the external business and economic environment, or the ability to withstand disruptions and catastrophic events.

Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic completely overturn the way of doing business and cause extreme uncertainty in many sectors and industries, e.g. air, travel, real estate, fashion and luxury, automotive, transport, agriculture, and food and beverage, amongst others. In times like these, the ability to be resilient is a must for both short- and long-term survival. So, what can companies and organizations learn from successful family businesses to improve their own resilience in tough times?

Based on current research at the SSE House of Innovation and on experiences from organizations that have endured multiple crises in their history, such as natural disasters, wars, regime changes and even previous pandemics, we will discuss how family businesses build resilience by adopting key features (acceptance of reality, strong values, ability to improvise), leveraging advantages (long-term orientation, commitment, independence) and addressing challenges (dominant powers, conflicts and limits) and how this can be used and replicated by other types of organizations to bounce back after a crisis.

Mattias Nordqvist, Professor, SSE.
Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman, Investor AB.
Fredrik Spendrup, CEO, Spendrups.
Karin Bodin, CEO, Polarbröd (TBC)
Moderated by Sarah Jack, Professor, SSE.