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 Andrews, founder of Family Business United, explains:

“There are over four million family firms across the UK with a good concentration 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.”

Scottish Family Business Day 2018

Scottish Family Business Day 2018 is a nationwide campaign to put the family business sector on the map, recognise the diversity of the sector and provide an opportunity to celebrate all things family business.

During the past year, the team at FBU have completed the first ever research piece into the contribution of the Top 100 Scottish family firms which shows that:

  • Top 100 Scottish family firms generate £16.6 billion annually
  • Top 100 Scottish family firms employ over 103,000 people
  • £1 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 2018 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.

The Family Business Team at Turcan Connell

At Turcan Connell, our approach to family business legal advice is different. The majority of our business has been built around families and, as a result, advising on family business matters is in our DNA. Our Family Business Team comprises solicitors across a full range of legal and tax services, including corporate lawyers, tax and succession lawyers, employment and dispute resolution, property and family lawyers.

Mike Kane, Partner and Head of Entrepreneurs & Family Businesses at Turcan Connell, said:

“We have a deep commitment to the family business sector in Scotland. We work closely with Family Business United (FBU) and are founder-directors of its Scottish arm, FBUS.

“We have been partnering with FBUS for several years now, and regularly support events like the annual Scottish Family Business conference through sponsorship and the provision of speakers.”

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 2018 a true family business celebration.

“Family businesses deserve all the support and recognition they get and we are proud to be championing this initiative.”

Scottish Family Business Day 2018 takes place on Tuesday 6th February,