Dubai - UAE: 12 March 2016 - A unique international gathering between Middle Eastern and Italian family businesses - the “Continuum Family Business Visit” - was successfully held from 1 - 4 March. Organized by Tharawat Family Business Forum in partnership with Pisa Orologeria, Borsa Italiana, part of the London Stock Exchange Group and the Italian Association for Family Businesses (AIDAF), the program provided 25 Middle Eastern family business members with an opportunity to visit prominent Italian businesses in Milan, gaining valuable insights into the operations and strategy that have made them so successful.
With the increase in trade and collaboration between Italy and the UAE surpassing 6 billion Euros in 2013 alone, Tharawat Family Business Forum designed the ambitious visit not only to give its Arab family business members a chance to learn from Italian entrepreneurial legacy, but also to open opportunities for valuable international business collaboration.
The program consisted of six guided visits to Italian family businesses hailing from a variety of backgrounds and industries. The hosting companies included market leaders Mapei, Sabaf, and Pirelli as well as Chateau D’Ax and Isagro. The Tharawat members were welcomed and hosted by the respective owners and executive management. Alessandro Colombo, Managing Director, Chateau D’Ax, said: “We were happy to welcome the great group of Middle Eastern business owners at Chateau D’Ax. We believe that engaging in the exchange of family businesses between different regions is important and opens up real avenues for collaboration and learning. We look forward to the long-term relationships fostered due to this visit to our facilities”.
Dr. Hischam El Agamy, Founder of the Tharawat Family Business Forum, said: “We wanted to introduce our members to family companies active in different industries and who have taken different approaches to internationalization, diversification, and ownership. One of the most inspiring take aways has been to see how much effort and capital Italian businesses invest into R&D. A remarkable commitment that shows tangible growth and creates competitive advantages.”
As part of the Continuum Family Business Visit, a networking event was hosted at the Borsa Italiana attended by over 40 members of Italian family businesses from various sectors, such as textile, banking, shipping, oil and gas, and manufacturing. At the event, speakers from companies such as Tonino Lamborghini, Plastifil, Almajdouie Group and Essa Al Ghurair Investment presented their companies and inspired vivid discussions on the potential for collaboration between Italy and the Middle East.
As the struggling global economy in 2016 continues to cast a shadow on business sentiment throughout Europe and the Middle East, the Continuum Family Business Visit to Milan was undoubtedly an invaluable opportunity for family business participants to not only learn from one other and engage in positive exchange, but also to explore new partnerships and create opportunities for investment. With the success of this inaugural visit, the Tharawat Family Business Forum has expressed its intentions to design similar events for its members in the future.