EU Project on Family Business Statistics

In January, Statistics Finland, in conjunction with the Finnish Family Firms Association, officially released its findings on the importance of family businesses for the Finnish economy. Launched in 2015, the European Commission’s COSME Programme on ‘Statistics for Family Businesses’ is finally nearing completion.

The study has found that Finnish family firms have a significant role to play in the Finnish economy. Of the total of all Finnish non-financial companies, which employ, 70 % (90 % including self-employed) are identified as family businesses. Family businesses are shown to contribute 15.6 % (19.7 %) of the total GVA and 29.9 % (37.7 %) of the business sector value added. When compared with other areas of the business sector, the study notes that family businesses are rather more labour intensive than other enterprises. They contribute 37.4 % (46.6 %) of business sector number of personnel, 24.8 % (29.9 %) of turnover and 21.8 % (33.1 %) of business sector net investment.

Family ownership is the most dominant model within small-sized companies, as 75 % of all companies are family businesses14. Family businesses provide 69 % of number of personnel and 64 % of value added within this group size (Chart 7). As company size increases, other ownership structures tend to become dominant. Family companies` form 38 % of medium-sized companies and their share of value added being 31 % and contributing 42 % number of personnel. But family companies only represent 20 % of large-sized companies. They create 15 % of value added and 18 % number of personnel within this size group.

Family businesses operate in every industry (Chart 10). Their share varies within each industry according to size. The overall analysis indicates that family businesses dominate Accommodation and Food services, regardless of size group. Large-sized family businesses have the largest shares in both the Accommodation & Food services (67 %) and Wholesale & Retail (39 %) industries. Medium-sized family businesses also have the highest share in Accommodation & Food services (70 %), while the second largest is in Construction (56 %). Small-sized family businesses dominate in Accommodation & Food services (85 %) and Construction (85 %).

EFB hopes that the data compiled in this study becomes a stepping stone for the further improvement of family business data in Finland. In the medium-term, the goal is to develop a comprehensive data set which would enable further study of the impact of ownership structures with regards to company performance.