Connect with us


Small family businesses in Europe struggle with digital era



Relatives working at a family-run flower shop
Just 37% of family-run SMEs feel very prepared to operate in a digital economy according to the study | Photo: Amina Filkins

Europe’s small family businesses could be at risk of falling behind competitors as the economy becomes more digital, new research from Mastercard has found.

SMEs as a collective account for 99% of all European enterprises. The majority are family-run, according to the European Parliament, particularly micro businesses with less than 10 employees.

Despite their huge presence, just 37% of family-run SMEs feel very prepared to operate in a digital economy according to the study.  

Mastercard is a key enabler in the digitalisation of Europe’s SMEs, serving four out five small businesses or approximately 18 million small enterprises. It carried out the research in 15 countries to understand how small businesses are responding to Europe’s increasingly digital economy and society. The study polled 10,500 respondents from both family- and non-family-run SMEs, demonstrating that new strategies are needed to better help smaller family firms. 

Barriers to digital adoption 

Family businesses have rapidly adapted to the digital-first world ushered in by the pandemic, with nearly half (47%) increasing their use of digital payments. However, the research reveals that family firms are still uncertain about which digital resources and technology would work best for them.  

More than two-fifths (41%) said they wanted new digital tools to modernise their businesses, but a significant number (28%) were unsure of which solution would best support them.  

Other factors holding them back were concerns around privacy and security, which was less of a concern for non-family-run firms suggesting they may have better guardrails in place and therefore feel more reassured.  

Surprisingly, close to a third (30%) of family businesses said relying on an internet connection was a barrier preventing new digital solutions that could support their commercial activities.  


The role of family dynamics 

Being family-run presents distinct challenges for running a business that may also make modernising more complicated. One issue uncovered was resistance to change, with some employees thinking their family firm had a closed mindset to adapting with the times and trying new things (27%), with older generations seen as less likely to want to do so.  

Navigating relations between family members is also a unique factor at family businesses, with a fifth saying that personal relations with their relatives was the biggest hurdle to overcome at work. Interestingly, succession-planning was a key flashpoint for some, with a fifth reporting there was conflict over who would take over the business in the future.   


There was a strong desire amongst family-run firms to have more education, training and mentorship to help their businesses grow. More than two-fifths wanted to modernise the business through the better use of digital tools. This demonstrates that small family businesses have an appetite to upskill and move with the times, but need more help in order to do so, presenting a clear opportunity for support. 

“Small businesses are the driving force of Europe’s economy, employing 82 million  people and have shown remarkable resilience in tough times.  However, many SMEs, especially those that are family-run, need additional support to thrive in a changing world,” says Mark Barnett, president of Mastercard Europe.

On the whole, respondents were positive about working with their relatives and family firms were more optimistic they would grow in the coming year than non-family run businesses. However, the uncertainty of if and how to modernise, coupled with family dynamics, could increase the risk of some small family businesses eventually being outpaced by more adaptable competitors. 

EuroNewsweek is a dynamic news platform featuring lifestyle, sustainability, successful stories, tech, leadership, creative marketing, business, and the unstoppable people behind them.


The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project announces 50 nominees



Kim Rihal, founder of social enterprise Equal Education, is one of the 50 women shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project
Kim Rihal, founder of social enterprise Equal Education, is one of the 50 women shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project

Earlier this year, on International Women’s Day 2023, Häagen-Dazs launched ‘The Rose Project’, a global initiative with a $100,000 (USD) bursary grant inviting nominations to recognise unsung trailblazing women in honour of the brand’s female co-founder Rose Mattus. Yesterday, 23 November, on what would have been Rose Mattus’ birthday, Häagen-Dazs announced the top 50 #WomenWhoDontHoldBack nominees being shortlisted for their achievements and its five globally accomplished Häagen-Dazs Rose Project judges.

Over 2,500 applications were received for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project putting forward pioneering efforts and societal contributions made by women across the globe. From these, 50 talented and inspirational women have been shortlisted and will be put forward to win one of five monetary grants of $20,000 (USD), which will be announced on International Women’s Day 2024, to continue their exceptional work, unleash their potential or give to a cause they are passionate about. The top 50 shortlist includes women from 17 countries hailing from across Europe, Asia, Africa & Middle East, Australia and the Americas.

The all-female judging panel from across the world has been handpicked for the final selection stage of The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project includes. UK-based author, broadcaster and philanthropist Katie Piper, fashion entrepreneur and advocate for women’s fertility issues, Velda Tan from Singapore and Spanish entrepreneur and creative director Inés Arroyo, are amongst the judges.

“International Women’s Day 2023 marked the launch of The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project to honour the legacy of our co-founder, Rose Mattus, and create a fund platform to provide opportunities to women across all fields around the world who are truly deserving of support and recognition. We were thrilled to receive thousands of nominations across countries and our #WomenWhoDontHoldBack Top 50 shortlist is a compelling and diverse mosaic of trailblazing female narratives that moved us and serve as an inspiration to women everywhere”, says Aurélie Lory, Häagen-Dazs spokesperson.

To find out more about the story of each entrepreneur shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project, visit:

Continue Reading


47% of women feel their workplace is not combatting inequality



Katherine Maher, CEO, Web Summit, on Centre Stage during day one of Web Summit 2023 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal
Katherine Maher, CEO, Web Summit, on Centre Stage during day one of Web Summit 2023 | Photo: Eóin Noonan/Web Summit

The proportion of women who feel that their workplace is not taking appropriate measures to combat gender inequality has nearly doubled in a year, a new survey has revealed.

Web Summit, the world’s largest technology event taking place in Lisbon this week, has released its third annual State of Gender Equity in Tech report, which is based on a survey distributed among its women in tech community.

76.1 percent of respondents feel empowered to pursue and/or hold a leadership position; fewer respondents (41.8 %) feel the need to choose between family and career when compared to 2022 (50.4 %); and there is at least one woman in a senior management position in 80.4 percent of respondents’ companies, a similar proportion to last year (81.3%).

The survey found that 70.5 percent of respondents feel pressure to prove their worth compared to male counterparts, while 77.2 percent feel they need to work harder to prove themselves because of their gender.

Over three quarters of respondents (76.1 %) feel empowered to pursue and/or hold a leadership position. And almost half of respondents think that their workplace is not taking appropriate measures to combat gender inequality, increasing from 26 percent in 2022 to 47
percent in 2023.

“While it is encouraging to see progress in some areas, such as those feeling the need to choose between their family and career, there are also some deeply concerning trends within this report. Seeing an increase in those who report having experienced sexism in the workplace in the last year is disheartening in 2023. We hope that this kind of research can breed some positives, and that it will push workplaces – and women within these workplaces – to broach these topics and make progress in these areas,” said Carolyn Quinlan, VP of community at Web Summit.

Last year, 42 percent of attendees at Web Summit were women and 33 percent of speakers were women. In 2023 these numbers have slightly improved with 43 percent of attendees and 38 percent of speakers on stage being women this year.

The women in tech programme at this year’s Web Summit is at capacity, and the women in tech programme at Web Summit Rio 2023 reached capacity in record time.

The WebSummit 2023 is running from November 13th to 16th in Lisbon, Portugal.

Continue Reading


Krispy Kreme to give away free donuts on World Kindness Day



A box of Krispy Kreme donuts opened and with donuts inside
The company, founded in 1937, is giving away 60,000 free doughnuts around the world today | Photo: Clément Proust

American multinational doughnut company and coffeehouse chain, Krispy Kreme, is celebrating “World Kindness Day” today by distributing free donuts in the US and the UK.

The chain is giving away a box of a dozen glazed donuts for free with no purchase necessary. But only the first 500 guests that visit each participating Krispy Kreme US stores on “World Kindness Day”, Monday November 13th, will be able to get a free box of donuts.

Krispy Kreme often gives away free or discounted donuts to generate buzz on special occasions. The company, founded in 1937, traditionally gives out free donuts to customers on National Donut Day, celebrated on the first Friday of June of each year. And in July, a dozen of glazed donuts were sold for 86 cents to celebrate its 86th birthday.

Thousands of free donuts are also expected to be given away today across Krispy Kreme stores in the United Kingdom, with customers being encouraged to ask for the World Kindness Day offer. No purchase necessary.

The company, which operates in over 30 countries around the world, said it wants the brand associated with World Kindness Day to make “meaningful connections” with customers.

“World Kindness Day is an opportunity to make a positive difference by being generous,” Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme’s global chief brand officer, said in a release. “Simple gestures of caring and thanks, including sharing a sweet treat, is a great way to do that.”

Krispy Kreme said that it’s considering expanding a limited partnership it has with McDonald’s to sell more of its donuts at the latter’s location.

Continue Reading