For the 2nd time, FCF sponsored the Arab-German Family Business Summit organized by the International Institute for Family Enterprises (IIFE). The debut summit last year in Cairo established a unique community: family businesses from the Arab world meeting German family enterprises. This year’s conference continued the dialogue within the existing community and interlinked new families attending the conference for the first time.
Approximately 160 shareholders and founders of prominent Arab family businesses met with 100 shareholders and founders of equally well-known German family enterprises. Delegates exchanged business ideas and worked on family business’ specific topics together in dedicated workshops. All happened in a casual atmosphere over 2.5 days which were focused on interaction and dialogue rather than presentations and monologue. The success of this special type of conference was obvious and can be measured in an exorbitant high rate of Arab attendants at the evening networking events (which is everything but usual) and very positive feedbacks from all delegates. Exactly this content driven and very personal set-up motivates FCF to continuously support the conference financially and to contribute through its expert know how in several workshops.
This year, FCF moderated a workshop on world class financing strategies for family enterprises and a workshop on Arab-German cross border investments. The topics where chosen out of two compelling reasons. First, many family businesses today suffer from the secondary effects of the financial crisis, mainly the dramatically decrease of banks’ appetite to grant loans. Thus, financing solutions have become one of the top topics on the management’s agenda. Secondly, the Arab world asks for more German involvement in joint ventures in order to diversify the Arab economies. On the other hand, German companies welcome Arab investors to help them finance growth and open doors in the MENA region. However, both sides still tend to tackle the common opportunities in a rather general manner not tailored to the actual needs of both parties. Our workshop therefore developed a framework which allows identifying sectors and sub-sectors where cross-border investments would be the key to diversification along the value chain and at the same time allow German companies the entry to a 350 billion people emerging market – a win-win situation for both parties.
For our interested clients we would be delighted to work out an individual strategy with whom and how to partner in the MENA region with regards to raising equity from strategic investors and entering new markets.