Family-ownership and entrepreneurial spirit championed at 2013 IGD Convention

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Robinson: embracing entrepreneurial spirit

Robinson: embracing entrepreneurial spirit

The value of family ownership and entrepreneurial spirit were championed at the 2013 IGD Convention.

Family ownership is key to Bacardi’s success, said Stefan Bomhard, regional president, Europe, at the 151 year-old company, which is owned by 450 family members. Companies can add value if they treat their businesses as family-owned, he claimed. 

Debbie Robinson, managing director at Spar UK, emphasised the importance of tapping into a new spirit of entrepreneurialism.

“Entrepreneurs have the ability to create markets,” she said, and highlighted Spar’s approach to supporting its entrepreneurial franchise retailers.

“We identify businesses at the early stages of their career and back them with an international brand,” she said. 

Bomhard referenced research by the Boston Consultancy Group which showed family-owned companies outperformed publicly-owned companies.

“When things get tough publicly-owned companies fall down quite a lot, family-owned companies hold up much better,” he said.

According to Bomhard, family-owned companies exhibit three key traits, which are transferable: think long-term, make gutsy decisions and have real passion and commitment.

“Most businesses are started by one entrepreneur and break category rules,” he said. 

Bacardi’s Bombay Sapphire Gin, launched in 1987, broke every rule in the book, said Bomhard.

It talked about all of the botanicals, not just juniper, and launched in a blue bottle, a first in the category.

Robinson featured Spar’s entrepreneurial retailers including James Hall in Preston, Paul Stone in Manchester, Mark Gillet in the West Country, Gail Boyd in Finaghy, the Sadiq brothers in Scotland and Spar Walthamstow.

Robinson said the team at Spar Walthamstow had acquired a second site and were converting it into a store and restaurant.

“Entrepreneurs have an ability to enhance life,” she said. “You have to be prepared to hop on and share that journey with them.”