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The family enterprise sector accounts for 70 per cent of all businesses in Australia. The sector includes small, medium and large privately owned businesses across a wide variety of industries, which can operate as a partnership, trust or company.
Common characteristics of a family enterprise
- Family enterprises usually have multiple people from the same family involved in the business. They can start with one person or a husband and wife, siblings, mother or father and one or more children. Family enterprises can even extend to grandchildren, cousins, their spouses, step children and in-laws;
- Family enterprises are usually intergenerational. The business has often been transitioned from one generation to the next, or the current owners intend to pass it down to the next generation.
- A family enterprise is controlled by family members. Even if the family no longer own the majority of the shares or are not the senior managers of the enterprise, they still generally have effective control.
- There is usually significant ownership by family members, even if the majority of the enterprise is owned by outside investors.
- Family members are usually involved in senior management positions.