On April 16th, 2014, cheese company Westland Kaas was voted the 2014 Dutch ‘Family Business of the Year’. Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister, made the announcement during the presentation of the Award which took place in the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.
Each year, the prize awarded by the Family Business Foundation aims to bring more attention to Dutch family businesses. Family Business Foundation was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur John Fentener van Vlissingen, who created BCD, global market leader in the travel industry and who is a member of the family that founded and still owns ‘Steenkolen Handels-Vereenigingand’- SHV Holdings.
John Fentener van Vlissingen underlines the crucial role Family Businesses play in the Dutch economy:
“Family owned companies contribute to 52% of the gross national product. They have a lot of perseverance and patience, because they are focused on the long term and create a lot of jobs. They are the backbone of the Dutch economy.”
As a partner of the Dutch ‘Family Business of the Year’ Award, KPMG provides its expertise in the Family Business field to select Dutch businesses competing for the award. The KPMG team, led by Audit partner Ernst Groenteman and KPMG Meijburg Tax Partner Olaf Leurs, shortlisted four Family Businesses from a group of 600 Dutch medium and large family owned companies. The selection was made on the basis of the eight criteria below:
The four contenders then received the visit of a seven-member jury. Along with Westland Kaas this year’s three other nominees were:
Flexibility in terms of innovation and entry into new markets, combined with a strong social commitment, is what these four financially sound companies had in common.
The jury stated that Westland Kaas was characterized by excellent governance and an exceptionally good interaction between family, owners, management and supervision:
“From an early age, the children of the family are all involved in the business in a playful manner. The company has been able to build international brands while focusing on growth; innovation has played a central part in recent years which has resulted in a broad-based innovation process. This authentic Family Business, which was founded 78 years ago, has been able to preserve its traditional values to grow in a changing world with changing consumer demand. Its successful and socially responsible strategy means this great company can look confidently towards the future.”
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