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Fuelling business growth through values and purpose in a digital age

PwC Bangladesh Family Business Survey

The Family Business Survey is a global market survey of important decision makers in family businesses (FBs) within a number of PwC’s key territories. It is carried out every 2 years. This is the first year PwC’s Family Business Survey was carried out in Bangladesh. Our report provides insights into how strong values within Bangladesh family businesses (FBs) are fuelling their growth. The Bangladesh Family Business Survey also provides insights into how the pace of technology change and generational differences are transforming the approach of family businesses towards legacy and succession planning in Bangladesh.

Mamun Rashid

“Family businesses have played a key role in nation building, employment generation and wealth creation in Bangladesh. These businesses have also been instrumental in driving foreign investments into the country. It is crucial that these organisations have a structured succession plan in place to ensure continued growth and help sustain the heightened entrepreneurial activity in the country.”

Mamun Rashid, Managing Partner, PwC Bangladesh

Here are some of the key findings of the study:

The economy of Bangladesh is estimated to have grown by 7.86% in FY18, the highest rate in Bangladesh’s history and the third consecutive year of at least 7% plus growth.

Performance and prospects of family businesses in Bangladesh

  • Around 91% of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh expect their business to grow over the next 2 years.
  • Around 84% of Bangladeshi family businesses have grown in the past financial year.
  • 13% of family businesses in Bangladesh work in multiple sectors and multiple countries.

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Financing growth of family businesses in Bangladesh

  • Family-owned businesses in Bangladesh overwhelmingly use bank lending and credit lines as a major source of financing.
  • Family businesses in Bangladesh also use capital markets, venture capital and stock market sources.
  • Internal resources are used by only 63% of Bangladeshi FBs.
  • Bangladesh FBs are also very open to private equity (59%) and going public.

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Diversification, adaptation and expansion

  • 75% of FB owners are seeking professionals outside the family to help them run their businesses.
  • Bangladeshi FBs are slightly more likely than the global average (28% compared to 20%) to change their business models or to earn significant revenue from new products or services.
  • More than half of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh believe that they will be exporting to new markets.

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Goals to achieve

  • Maintaining the best talent (via recruitment and retention) for the business is crucial (94% cite this) for Bangladeshi FBs.
  • 84% of the family businesses in Bangladesh have made professionalising the business their personal and business goal.
  • The broader aim to internationalise the business (56% of FBs aspire to do so).

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Challenges to overcome

  • Accessing the right skills and capabilities ranks as the key issue for Bangladesh, with 66% of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh identifying it as such.
  • Domestic competition (63%) and prices of energy and raw materials (63%) are also more significant challenges, when compared to the global averages.
  • The need for innovation has also been identified as a major challenge (63%).

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Family-owned businesses in Bangladesh seem to be very optimistic about growth and have a good grasp of the challenges they face.


  • The vision for 94% of Bangladeshi FBs is to protect the business as the most important family asset and for 88%, to create a legacy.
  • The end goal for most Bangladeshi FBs is to create an asset that sustains the family (81%).
  • About 81% of the family-owned businesses in Bangladesh have long-term plans to generate employment for the communities they serve.

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Strategic planning

  • Only 34% of Bangladeshi FBs say that they have a costed, formalised and documented mid-term plan (compared to 49% globally).
  • 50% of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh said they have an informal plan, and 16% have no plan at all.

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Policies and procedures

  • 72% of family businesses in Bangladesh have some form of policy/procedure in place within the business.
  • The shareholders’ agreement was found to be the main reference document for FBs, both in Bangladesh and globally.
  • Family councils are also gaining importance.

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Conflict resolution

  • 63% of Bangladeshi FBs claim that family conflict is handled within the immediate family. Only 6% use a third-party resolution service.
  • 75% of all family-owned businesses in Bangladesh (lower than the global average of 83%) have at least one procedure or mechanism in place to deal with family conflict.

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Globally, continuity/endurance is key to the creation of a legacy—of the physical business, of the family involvement, of the growth and success of products and services, of the support given to communities.

The next generation of leaders

  • 91% of Bangladeshi FBs plan to pass on management and/or leadership to the next generation. Both will be passed on in 72% of the cases.
  • In addition, 63% of the next gen working for the business are in leadership teams.
  • Structuring of a succession plan for Bangladesh family businesses is an extremely important consideration.

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Successful succession

  • About 91% of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh will be passing on the business to the next generation in the next 5 years.
  • Succession planning in Bangladesh is important because out of 100 businesses which are set up, only 60 stay in business through the second generation.

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Women constitute 25% of board members in Bangladeshi FBs but only 14% of the management team.

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In a majority of Bangladeshi FBs surveyed, values are created by the owners by envisioning the perception they want to create in the communities they serve.

Agreement with statements

  • Almost 97% of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh say that they have a clear sense of agreed values.
  • Fewer than half (47%) have these values or a company mission in a written format.
  • Around 87% of Bangladeshi FBs feel that values and purpose have become stronger over the years and have framed their vision for the company.

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Philanthropy: A tool for creating value

  • 78% of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh are engaged in any philanthropic activity above giving money to good causes, compared to 68% globally.
  • Only 38% try to measure the impact of their philanthropic activity.

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution is going to change how firms do business at a very fundamental level. Adapting to these changes is going to be vital to remain globally competitive in the near future.

  • 25% of the respondents say digitisation of Bangladeshi family businesses will be a key challenge.
  • Further, 63% think they will have stepped up digital capability in the next 2 years
  • Only 19% of family-owned businesses in Bangladesh see digital disruption as a threat compared to 30% globally.
  • 31% of Bangladesh family businesses perceived assessment of their vulnerability to cyberattacks as a threat compared to the global average of 40%.

Moving forward

Along with profitability and growth, values and social responsibility tend to be on the list of priorities of businesses who aim to reap the dividends of their social assets. At the same time, family-owned businesses in Bangladesh seem more open to tweaking their business models (28% compared to the global average of 20%) to be more competitive in the global market and a majority of them are poised to ramp up their digital capabilities as a part of their transformation.

However, Bangladeshi FBs should meticulously assess the role of technology disruption to ride the Industry 4.0 wave and safeguard themselves from technological and competitive risks.

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N V  Sivakumar

N V Sivakumar

Partner & Leader - Private & Entrepreneurial Business, PwC India

Tel: +91 (80) 4079 7001 | +91 98 4503 0010

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