Europe has a lot to learn from Russia about family business

Unlike the Russian state which is keenly aware of the role of family businesses in the economy, the European institutions are guided predominantly by the size of the corporations, the number of employees, and the revenues when they formulate their fiscal and social security policies. Sadly enough, the legal definition for small and medium enterprises follows this bureaucratic logic on the Old Continent. The organization of the European Family Businesses (EFB), a member of which is Family Business Network Bulgaria, believes that the current statistical understanding of the business environment is incomplete, to put it mildly. Europe has a lot to learn from Russia about its policy with regard to the family-run companies, said the philanthropist, honorary consul of Uzbekistan, and founder of FBN Bulgaria, Petar Mandjoukov. He expressed his satisfaction with the fact that as early as 2020, the draft legal regulations in Russia started mentioning the introduction of the concept of ‘family enterprise’. Privileges which we, the Europeans, can only hope for. If Europe manages to overcome its limited statistical understanding and to broaden its horizons, the Member States could start to formulate more adequate policies supporting the growth and prosperity of European businesses. In this way we could have a knowledge-based economy, were the hopes of the Bulgarian entrepreneur.

He added that being Orthodox nations, both Russia and Bulgaria consider the family not only as a central value, but also a solid foundation on which we build our businesses. It is no accident that according to numerous studies, Russian family-run businesses are among the global leaders in innovation, high technology, and digitalization. Whereas our Western partners are only now starting to develop sustainable strategies, Eastern countries have for a long time been incorporation charity, social commitment, and environmental protection as a natural part of our management strategies. The reason for this is that all around the world family-run businesses are built on intransient moral values. They are a natural antidote to the global corporate ‘religion’ of overproduction and overconsumption. While the international economic giants aim at profits, family businesses place solidarity and empathy toward the problems of humankind at the heart of their work. It is only logical that family companies are the absolute leaders in corporate social responsibility’, said Mandjoukov.

He ranks among the leading European donators in the fight against COVID-19, investing in a state-of-the-art molecular genetics laboratory for the needs of the Faculty of Biology at the oldest higher learning institution in Bulgaria. Thanks to this incredibly generous gesture, today the scientific community in his home country is on the verge of a major breakthrough related to the genome of the virus which could make possible the precise prognosis of the course of the disease in different individuals in the future. He set aside more than EUR 1 million of his personal wealth to provide ambulances and life-saving medical equipment for the Bulgarian Military Medical Academy. This gracious act helped save millions of lives in the height of the COVID-19 crisis, according to healthcare professionals working at the medical facility.

‘Although the mentality of both Bulgarian and Russian entrepreneurs is rather cosmopolitan, our leading values are rooted in Orthodoxy. It is our firm belief that this is the foundation on which family businesses will affirm spirituality as an alternative to the perilous urge to consume’, said the philanthropist. As an expression of his genuine faith, he started a large-scale programme to build and restore a whole network of orthodox churches in Bulgaria. Petar Mandjoukov is the main donator for the erection of 5 churches – is Sofia, Pamporovo, Lovech and the village of Breste, Cherven Bryag. Also he was the exclusive benefactor in the construction of the ‘Saints Peter and Paul’ Church in the eponymous monastery just outside Sofia. Thanks to his generous donations, the church ‘Transfiguration of Jesus Christ’ was constructed in Plovdiv in the year of the 70th birthday of the businessman. As a result of the self-sacrificing contributions to the Christian faith, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church honoured him as an Archon, a title given to him personally by the Plovdiv Metropolitan Bishop Nikolai.