People sit in Cafe Younes in Hamra, which is now seeking to expand to the United States under family leadership. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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"Younger generations want to innovate," says Josiane Sreih, an associate professor of business management at Lebanese American University, who has studied the transitions of family businesses in Lebanon, and who points to innovation as key to companies' survival and growth.She has found that 75 percent of businesses are both innovative, and have a strategic plan for the future, with two thirds of those businesses ready to hand over the firm to the next generation.In Lebanon, where around 80 percent of businesses are from the private sector – of which around 95 percent are family-owned – keeping them strong is vital for the country's economy. At his sprawling office building on the edge of Sidon on Lebanon's southern coast, Mohammad Yaman is determined to avoid these pitfalls. In fact, he has been training to make the transition to an innovative company CEO since he was 12 years old, learning the printing business, accompanying his father to trade shows and conferences, studying business at Lebanese American University, and then becoming CEO of El Yaman Group in 2012 .Indeed, it appears that some of the most innovative companies likely to survive the next-generation transition are the ones where the new management took the lead from the founder by starting from the bottom.
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