The presence or lack of entrepreneurs in the economy is recognised as being a key factor in the success or failure of countries to grow (Audretsch & Thurik, 2001). Of particular interest, are the factors that lay the ground for entrepreneurial survival and good performance (Chrisman et al., 1999; Edelman et al., 2005; Short et al. 2009). However, previous research on this central question has led toward fragmented and controversial results (Koeller & Lechler, 2005). The objective of this paper is to shed some light on the factors that drive the survival and performance of family owned firms in the specific context of hostile environment.

Entrepreneurship scholars have called for multiple-level research in the field (Low & MacMillan 1988; Davidsson & Wiklund, 2001). In this paper, we conduct a 3-level analysis (firm, industries and regions) and measure the impact of firms’ performance at the micro and macro level.