Training next generation of family business leaders for higher success

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Mumbai: For years, B-schools in India have been attracting students eager to make it big in the top global companies. But very few know that India has 108 publicly-listed family-owned businesses, the third highest in the world, with China topping the tally with 167 such companies followed by the US which has 121.

According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s (CSRI) latest “CS Family 1000” report, with an average market capitalisation of$ 6.5 billion, India ranks 5th in Asia Pacific excluding Japan and 22nd globally, in terms of average m-cap. Indian companies surveyed are more mature, with 60 % of family businesses in their third generation compared to 30 % of Chinese companies. Besides these listed companies, India has seen a spurt of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs), which are playing a crucial role in the country’s growth story.

In this age of disruptive innovation and rapid economic changes, where ‘flourish’ or ‘perish’ is the name of the game, Family Managed Businesses have to reinvent their strategies to remain relevant, evolve and grow.

Understanding the growing need of grooming the next generation that would transform their family business, leading B-School WeSchool’s 11 month Post Graduate Family Managed Business and Entrepreneurship (FMBE) program has been quietly contributing towards creating young entrepreneurs who are taking their businesses to the next level.

The 2018 batch starts on 24th September and WeSchool understands that every business and its challenges are unique and requires personal focus. The program design of WeSchool’s FMBE program is such that it nurtures the entrepreneur with skills that solve specific business issues and techniques to grow it to the next level. Students attend sessions for seven days in a month so that business can go on as usual. They apply the week’s learning, knowledge and technique in their businesses to enhance the quality, productivity and scale up their business.

Dr Srinivas Gondhalekar, management guru, entrepreneur, author and head, Entrepreneurship Management – WeSchool, explained the vision of the FMBE program, “It is exciting times for entrepreneurs in India and we have designed a robust curriculum that helps these young business owners to become mature leaders of tomorrow by helping them to create integrated business plans, provide practical tools and techniques of global standards and above all be innovative. It is not just about adopting the best practices, but creating next practices.”

WeSchool’s FMBE Program is structured around the triple pillars of Acquisition, Application and Assimilation of Knowledge (AAA) learning. The contemporary syllabus helps businesses to plan and apply design thinking, innovation and collaborations to have an edge over the competition. It also helps businesses to transform themselves to stay relevant, retain values and keep growing.

As students start applying their classroom experiences in their business, quantifiable changes have been observed in 3-4 months. Since succession planning, followed by greater competition and talent retention are big challenges in the family owned businesses in India, WeSchool has parent interaction sessions. Students also undergo a Global Outreach Program – visiting world class companies in Japan, which are known for their high standards in quality and productivity in the world.

With holistic hands-on experience and chance to interact with alumni and industry mentors, the program has created its own success stories. Take the case of Harshavardhan Mishra, second generation entrepreneur, running a business of manufacturing and exports of textiles. “WeSchool’s FMBE program is about real time business challenges. Sessions are held on customer acquisition, design thinking, pricing policies, digital transformation at no extra cost and all these experiences are then integrated. Our professors became consultants and we would discuss our business issues directly,” explained Mishra.

“The global outlook of WeSchool’s FMBE program – the international study tour, foreign languages-commerce and use of technology as an enabler helped me explore business opportunities in the untapped global markets, stated Namrata Jham, director, Symphony Fashions.

The SME sector in India represents 38 % of the GDP and employees over 100 million people. As they become engines of growth, leadership, especially in family owned businesses, will be the core issue. “I’m happy that we are contributing to the growth engine. Family business owners need assistance to address issues like business continuity challenges and how to attract the next generation to join the family business and WeSchool has a structured process to do this,” added Dr Gondhalekar.