Date posted: March 14, 2017

Family Business

Stephen Van Shaick
Managing Director, BioGro

Bio Gro is a leading player in the manufacture of specialist growing and mulching mediums, soil amendments and biological stimulants perfectly tailored for a wide range of horticultural applications.

Manufacturing and processing of Organic and Forest Residues.

What generation is your family business?

What/ who is a major influence for you in the family business?
The past several years have been the most tumultuous years that our Company has ever had to face in the past 40 years of doing business. In 2013 we very nearly sold the Company to a private equity consortium (against my wishes ) and later that same year my brother left the business to pursue his own interests and during this same period my father had major heart surgery. I have since taken on the Managing Directors role and my main focus has been to put stability back into the Company so that we have a successful and sustainable business for my family and our employees.

What aspects do you enjoy most about your family business?
My parents started the business over 40 years ago and I’m the very first employee and I have only ever worked for BioGro. So I’m particularly proud of the fact that our business now employs almost 100 employees and that we now have our 4 children also working in the business as the third generation. Watching our children gain the same passion that I have for our Company is very satisfying for me.

What keeps you awake at night?
Too many ideas!!

What is the key benefit of your FBA membership?
I would say that every family business has a “ war story ” as I put it. So being a part of FBA allows you to listen to other family war stories and to understand that your story is not so unique. So at times to compare notes can be often helpful to guide you through some of the pitfalls of owning and managing a family business.