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The 14th Conference of the Banca March Chair of Family Business analyses innovation and tradition at family businesses

21 October 2022 Category: Banca March

  • Agromart and Carlos Pons Brand were the two guest companies at the event, which looked at how family businesses, rooted in tradition, are able to become innovation drivers.
  • Banca March CEO José Luis Acea said: “Both Carlos Pons Brand and Agromart are perfect examples of the innate capacity for innovation offered by family businesses, driven by an efficient combination of tradition and modernity”.

The 14th Conference of the Banca March Chair of Family Business has taken place successfully after a year's delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 150 people gathered on Thursday in the events room at the Mallorca Chamber of Commerce to listen to representatives of the two guest companies: Agromart and Carlos Pons Brand.

This year, the event looked at how family businesses, rooted in tradition, are able to become innovation drivers. At the opening of the event, Banca March CEO José Luis Acea spoke in detail on the subject: “Both Carlos Pons Brand and Agromart, our guest companies and the stars of this year's event, are the perfect example of family businesses' capacity to innovate by effective combining tradition and modernity; by looking to the present and future without losing sight of their roots, and where they came from.”

Carlos Fernández, founder and creative director of Menorca-based footwear company Carlos Pons Brand, and Rafel Figuera, founder and Head of the Production and Communications Area at Agromart, a Mallorca-based agricultural company, were the featured guests on the round table moderated by Rafel Crespí, Director of the Banca March Chair of Family Business, which examined the challenges and opportunities posed by innovation at family businesses.

The two business leaders, both born into family companies, emphasised the importance of combining tradition with changes in demand, of prioritising competitiveness and of standing out from the crowd by offering optimal quality with a sustainable approach which is respectful of people and the environment. 

Carlos Fernández highlighted the importance of innovation in Menorca's long-established, highly traditional footwear sector: "We make premium quality, comfortable products at prices that make them accessible to a broader audience". Rafel Figuera explained that being based in Mallorca is the key to close customer engagement with its products. "We are based in Porreres, where working hard is still respected," said the Mallorca-born business leader. 

Agromart was created in Porreres by two agricultural families to weather the 2007 crisis. Its business model underwent a major change, going from wholesalers to setting up their own chain of retail stores, where they sell their products: local fruit and vegetables grown using methods which respect the environment and are good for consumers' health. Agromat now employs almost 500 people at its 19 stores in Mallorca.

Carlos Pons Brand was started by a Menorca-based family of shoemakers with over 70 years' experience. The company was created with the goal of modernising the world of sneakers whilst prioritising craftmanship and attention to detail with a view to offering premium quality products.

The event was also attended by Carles Mulet, Vice Chancellor of Economy and Infrastructure at the University of the Balearic Islands, and Isabel Piñero, Vice Chair of the Balearic Islands Family Business Association.

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