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Family business defined

Across the world family firms play a major part in driving economies, locally, regionally and globally yet there are different interpretations of what actually defines a family business.


In the broadest sense, a business can be defined as a family business when it is actively owned and/or managed by more than one member of the same family.


Other definitions that have become more widely accepted include:


A family enterprise is an economic venture in which two or more members of a family have an interest in ownership and a commitment to the continuation of the enterprise.

Family Firms are those in which multiple members of the same family are involved as major owners or managers, either contemporaneously or over time

Family firms are those in which the family controls the business through involvement in ownership and management positions.

The majority of the shares in the business are owned by family members and at least one member of the family is involved in the management or administration of the firm.

Listed companies can also fall within the definition of a family business by way of the number of voting shares held by a person/family exceeding 25% of the total.


For the purposes of our work here at Family Business United, a family business is one that is owned and/or managed by at least one family member where they are looking to continue as a family business into the future, and are proud to call themselves a family business where the influence and values of the underlying family continue to have an impact on the business and what it does.

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