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Family Business Award 2018: family-owned companies deserve more attention


28 November 2017

A successful business can never be taken for granted. Innovating, anticipating and investing: everything that seems completely self-evident for an entrepreneur with a family-owned company can inspire other entrepreneurs. For its Family Business Awards in 2018, the Family Business Foundation (Stichting Familie Onderneming) is therefore looking for successful entrepreneurs who have something to say.

Why do family-owned companies deserve more attention?

Family-owned companies form the backbone of the Dutch economy: 69% of businesses in the Netherlands are family-owned companies (± 260,000), accounting for 49% of the country’s employment and 53% of its GDP. Family-owned companies focus on the long term, are cost-conscious and have lower financing requirements. Family-owned companies are also important for innovation.

Family-owned companies moreover play a crucial role in employment; the medium-sized business sector is growing. Family-owned companies also perform better on the stock exchange.

The Family Business Foundation was established in 2012 by John Fentener van Vlissingen with the aim of supporting family-owned companies in the Netherlands, including in politics.

Winner of the Family Business Award 2017

On 12 April 2017, George Terberg, Chairman of the Board of Management of Terberg Group in IJsselstein, received the Award that comes with the title of “Family Business of the Year 2017”. The jury was unanimous in its final assessment: Terberg Group excels in innovation, is very open to change and is successfully continuing to grow partly due to its rationalisation and renewal of production methods. The chairman of the Foundation, Mr Fentener van Vlissingen: “There is a focus within this family-owned company on its own employees and this produces a positive atmosphere. Commitment is of central importance within the Terberg Group.”

The other nominees were Brabantia (Valkenswaard), Koninklijke A-ware Food Group (Almere) and Koninklijke Zeelandia Groep (Zierikzee).

Selection process

The family-owned companies competing for the Award are assessed in terms of the following criteria:

  1. How is the business organised: this is assessed on the basis of the shareholding structure, management and governance.
  2. Who is the family and what is the culture within the business?
  3. How is continuity safeguarded?
  4. How is the business performing financially (returns and financing structure)?
  5. How strongly is the business growing? For instance in terms of turnover, returns and number of employees.
  6. Does the business operate internationally as well (and especially in how many countries)?
  7. How is the business performing in terms of social engagement (role in community, CSR activities)?
  8. How innovative is the business? This is assessed on the basis of patents, R&D costs, product launches, etc.

The Family Business Award 2018 will be presented to the winning family-owned company in the spring of 2018. The previous winners were Gassan Diamonds (2013), Westland Kaas (2014), Koninklijke De Heus (2015), Enza Zaden (2016) and Terberg Group (2017).

More information about the Foundation, the winners, the award and the criteria is available (in Dutch) on

Want to know more about innovation? Read here why family-owned companies are among the most innovative businesses in their sector.