A note from Darren McDowell, Chair of the NI Family Business Forum and Senior Partner, Harbinson Mulholland
I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well.

Almost every family business we have spoken with in recent weeks is facing disruption in some meaningful way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are fighting to stay alive or managing the implications of a significant revenue decline, while others are dealing with increased demand and stressed supply chains.

Although every firm’s struggle is unique, family businesses have never been threatened like they are today. As we continue the phased reopening of businesses in Northern Ireland and start the rebuilding process, family businesses face various important decisions that will test their purpose and values.

At Harbinson Mulholland we are committed to supporting family businesses through this challenging time and as part of our effort to help, we are now launching a landmark Family Business Survival Survey in collaboration with our family business colleagues in the University of Ulster, Dublin City University and their partners in the University of Central Florida. During this global crisis we endeavour to use our collective expertise to uncover appropriate strategies and best practice to sustain family businesses in Northern Ireland and worldwide for the generations to come.

This one-of-a-kind study examines how family businesses are navigating the global pandemic. The results will provide salient insights and best practice guidance into how family businesses can effectively plan for the future with a specific focus on survival strategies, resilience and continuity planning. I am reaching out to request your help with this study.

The survey, which should be completed by the CEO or most senior executive and a selection of employees, is approximately 12 minutes in length. All responses are completely confidential.

In return, participating family businesses will receive an exclusive report detailing the experiences, response and impact of the global pandemic on family businesses across the country and important insights into how family businesses can navigate the crisis and increase their chances of successful continuity.

The report will detail best practice recommendations on topics such as nurturing effective work and family relationships and fostering employee commitment. Across sectors, one critical factor is employee resilience and willingness to stand by the firm during the uncertain times ahead.

You can register to participate in the study by completing the short sign up form below. Please complete and a copy of the survey will be sent to you – deadline to sign up is Wednesday 12th August.

Please participate as your insights will be invaluable to local family businesses into the future.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact Treena Clarke at:

You can find out more about the work of the NI Family Business Forum at:

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

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