Celebrating Scottish Family Firms
5th February 2019 Paul Andrews
#ScottishFamilyBizDay celebrates the family businesses across Scotland that quite simply are the bedrock of communities and the backbone of the Scottish economy.
Scottish family businesses come in all sizes, from all sectors and from all over the region. Many of these firms have been in existence for hundreds of years, passing from generation to generation, with their longevity the result of good governance, innovative family ownership and a focus on the long term that has resulted in them becoming the bedrock of communities across the region. Others may be younger in age, but share similar values and are building forward-looking family firms of the future.
Studies in the past decade have shown that around 65% of all private businesses in the UK are family controlled and that family businesses in the UK account for around 25% of UK GDP, over 45% of UK employment and generate significant tax revenues for the Exchequer. It is also recognised that a large proportion of the UK’s wealth is held within family businesses and that the family business sector is therefore a force to be reckoned with.
Family firms across Scotland represent a significant proportion of all businesses and these firms today are a far cry from the ‘ma and pa’ image of small lifestyle businesses that are often portrayed in the media – they are big employers, create wealth for their employees (many of whom have had generations of the same family working in the business) and invest significantly in the communities in which they operate.
As Paul explains, “There are around 5 million family firms across the UK and approachimg 300,000 in Scotland and they really are the backbone of the regional economy. All too often the endeavours of the family business sector are dismissed in favour of their non-family counterparts and the aim of Scottish Family Business Day is to champion the sector, put family firms on the map and help to dispel the myths surrounding the family business sector.”
The contribution made by the family business sector in Scotland is significant and deserves to be recognised. Scottish Family Business Day 2019 is a nationwide campaign to put the family business sector on the map, organised by Family Business United (‘FBU’), the award-winning magazine and resource centre for the global family business community that was founded by Paul Andrews. Scottish Family Business Day recognises the diversity of the sector and provides an opportunity to celebrate all things family business and takes place on February 6, 2019.
During the past year the team at FBU have completed the second research piece into the contribution of the Top 100 Scottish family firms which shows that:
•Top 100 Scottish family firms generate £17.2 billion turnover annually
•Top 100 Scottish family firms employ over 111,000 people
•£1.2 billion PBT is generated by the Top 100 Scottish family firms
•Scotland is awash with family firms that make a significant contribution to the communities in which they operate.
Family firms have to deal with specific issues associated with their family ownership and it is the relationship dynamics that make them special, and of course, can create unique tensions that are not found in their non-family counterparts. Family businesses that recognise these challenges, develop good governance procedures and focus on the sustainability of the business for the long term, innovating as necessary to keep the business relevant, have the greatest chances of remaining for generations to come.
Successful family firms focus on the business and take a long term view, and with a significant number of family business owners looking to retire in the next decade, succession planning and the development of the next generation of family business leaders remains a key item on the family business agenda. Scottish Family Business Day is a chance to share best practice, identify the resources available and to provide assistance to family businesses across the region on the next stage of their journey, as well as championing the cause and recognising the contribution that these businesses make.
As Paul concludes, “We have created a day for all family firms to be proud of and by providing them with the resources needed to get involved are looking forward to a day of celebration that will undoubtedly put family firms on the map. There is a phenomenal amount of pride being demonstrated by family firms across Scotland and with a great volume of social media traffic the plan is to make 2019 a true family business celebration.”
“Family businesses deserve all the support and recognition they get and we are proud to be championing this initiative to put them on the map.”
Family firms are the backbone of the Scottish economy and we hope they remain so for generations to come.
Get involved with the online campaign using the hashtag #ScottishFamilyBizDay and be a part of something special.