Sir Anthony Ritossa, Chairman of Ritossa Family Office

Family businesses are a driving force in the GCC, contributing an impressive 60 per cent of GDP and providing employment to 80 per cent of the regional workforce, Sir Anthony Ritossa, Chairman of Ritossa Family Office tells Gulf Industry

Family businesses make up a formidable force in the global economy. According to Ernst & Young (EY), the world's top 500 family enterprises generate a staggering $7.28 trillion in annual revenues and employ 24.1 million people globally.

Family businesses are a driving force in the GCC too, contributing an impressive 60 per cent of GDP and providing employment to 80 per cent of the regional workforce. The astounding impact family-run firms have on the regional economy is undeniable, setting it apart from other global marketplaces.

In some of the most influential Arab economies such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, family businesses are an integral part of the very economic foundations. In fact, family offices make up a remarkable 90 per cent of all private companies operating within these two markets.

The broader Middle East and North African (Mena) region has long been a hub of family businesses, entrepreneurs, and social innovators. For centuries, families have passed down business models to future generations, while social impact and philanthropy have become deeply rooted in many cultures across the region.

Today’s families have an even greater opportunity—the ability to build true wealth by uniting their business goals with their commitments to making an impact on society and our planet. By doing so they will not only achieve financial success, but also create valuable relationships with their employees, customers, and communities, creating a legacy that goes far beyond profits.

Family offices that prioritise corporate giving efforts or responsible investment along with profit-making activities can boost their revenues while increasing employee engagement and satisfaction by providing meaningful work that extends beyond the bottom line.

Uniting family businesses with social impact initiatives can also lead to greater financial returns in the long run; studies have shown that companies which practice responsible investing tend to outperform their peers over time.

To me, helping others is the greatest form of wealth. True wealth is about leveraging corporate influence and resources to create a greater sense of purpose for businesses and communities alike. True wealth encompasses all aspects of life, including physical and emotional wellbeing, relationships with communities and the environment, as well as spiritual fulfilment.

Customers are increasingly looking for companies that prioritise social responsibility. Millennials are now looking beyond profits, and success has taken on a whole new meaning. Research confirms that today's customers prefer products that are backed with an authentic social or environmental mission. They want brands to share their values, creating human connections as well as commercial ones. In response to these consumer trends, companies of all sizes are starting to consider the impact of their presence in society rather than simply aiming for profit margins.

Profit and purpose can be two sides of the same coin. What used to be considered a zero-sum game—in which one had to sacrifice either money or impact—is no longer the case. It only takes a little creativity and human ingenuity to allow both sides of the coin to work together harmoniously.

With the advent of modern technologies, family businesses have a unique opportunity to shape the 4th Industrial Revolution and create a future that is uplifting and equitable—one that empowers humanity instead of dividing or diminishing it.

At the recent Ritossa Global Family Office Investment Summit held in Dubai, ambitious investors and entrepreneurs ignited a spark of growth that is set to propel an even brighter future. From March 19 to 21, these influential visionaries will convene again in Dubai, UAE to collaborate on business strategies for lasting impact.