Chair’s note – November 2020

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Marco Rizzi
Chair, IBA Closely Held and Growing Business Enterprises Committee


Dear fellow members,

We hope you and your beloved ones are all well, and keeping safe from the second wave of the pandemic.

As this very particular year is about to end, I would like to look back at recent committee activities and inform you about upcoming initiatives. In this e-bulletin you will also find an update on our project to rename the Committee and information on how to participate it.

Recent activities

In October we had our first virtual retreat which was held in two different sessions, one at 8am Tokyo time and the other at 8am CET, gathering some 70 attendees (read more about it in this e-bulletin). It has been really marvellous to see - and chat with - so many old and new friends. The 90+ minutes were over in no time, among greetings, introduction of new attendees, laughs, polls, the small group breakout sessions and a heated debate over our new committee name candidates. A huge and heartily THANK YOU goes to Giuseppe Coco and his firm for the technical support; to Dinka Kovacevic and, again, Giuseppe, for setting up and distributing the (very funny!) face-book of all attendees; to Nicole Van Ranst and, again, Giuseppe, for preparing the breakout session topic; to Alex Payá for stepping into the ring and opposing me in a heated debate over the new committee name; and to Dinesh Melwani and Nicole for moderating that debate (and struggling to get the two adversaries to abide to some basic rules of decency…).

Within the framework of the IBA 2020 - Virtually Together Conference, our committee held four own sessions (How can I finance my company; How the world is changing – foreign direct investments in the Americas; Succession planning for owners – how to secure the future; Public v private – the advantages and disadvantages of being listed; finding the right balance) and participated in a further five sessions. Beyond that, we had a very engaging open networking session, driven by the enthusiastic Floris Evers, double Olympic silver medallist, consultant in leadership and organisation development, master of arts and yoga-teacher, who gave us tips on how to handle a set-back and challenging times.

Upcoming activities – save the dates and be there!

For the year-end and in 2021, which will hopefully see the return of in-person events, we have planned to be very active and have a number of events on the menu, which we hope you will attend (save the dates!):

  • December Holiday Greetings event on Friday 18 December at 6pm CET: we have gratefully taken up the idea of some of the retreat attendees to have an informal catch-up in December. This will be a short and entirely social event, in which we will just say hello to each other and chat a bit. If you wish to attend this event, please reach out to Noreen Weiss or to me.
  • 2021 Virtual Committee Retreat in January: following positive feedback from attendants to our October virtual retreat, we will have a second, similar event. We are considering to do the CET session in the late afternoon (eg, at 6pm CET), instead of in the morning, and to keep the time of the Tokyo session (8am Tokyo time). Watch out for the separate information and for registration details, or do reach out to me if you wish to attend.
  • Second Virtual Entrepreneurship Conference in Q1 or early Q2 2021. As Europe and large parts of the world are being hit by the second wave of Covid-19 and travel restrictions, as well as social distancing, are most probably bound to last for a long time, we will most likely be forced to postpone the Amsterdam conference to spring 2022. The poll we conducted at our October virtual retreat showed that an encouraging 80 per cent of participants would attend webinars or a virtual event. Accordingly, we are working towards organising such an event. Of course, we want this virtual event to be as innovative, interesting, interactive, useful and fun as possible. Please do let us know if you have ideas on how we can achieve that. Further information to follow soon!
  • Paris retreat October 2021: in a ‘stop & go’ exercise dictated by events, we have been and still are in discussions with a fabulous venue for our Paris Annual IBA Conference open committee retreat. The idea was – and still is – to have our own event offsite in Paris, in a very nice boutique hotel and with a nice château (what else…). So, we plan to go back to the origins of our retreats (for those who remember our very first retreat, outside Dublin). It has been encouraging to hear from virtual retreat attendees that almost 95 per cent would be interested in attending such a retreat. So, cross your fingers…
  • Paris Annual Conference activities: for the Paris Annual Conference we are planning many activities, which will include four highly topical and interesting sessions lead by our committee, a number of other sessions in which we will participate, our famous committee dinner and possibly an open committee meeting.
  • Second Latin American Entrepreneurship Conference: the committee’s first Latin American Entrepreneurship Conference, which was held in November 2019 in São Paulo, has been very popular. Accordingly, and in line with the committee’s intention to intensify activities and its presence in Latin America, we are considering to have a second conference in the region, late in 2021.
  • Regional activities and events for Latin America, North America, Africa and Asia-Pacific: we are currently setting up working groups, under the lead of our liaison officers, that have the task to identify and organise activities and events tailored for those regions in the world where the committee currently is less present. The idea is to offer activities/events that, while open to a global audience, are particularly relevant to and held at suitable daytimes for the corresponding regions.

If you would like to be involved in any of the above activities planned for 2021, or if you have ideas for other events (whether they involve legal/professional topics, other subjects, or are of a merely social nature), please do reach out to any committee officer. You will find their contact details on the committee section of the IBA website.

Warm regards – and stay close!

Marco Rizzi

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