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Calling all family businesses

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Family business

Up to two-thirds of all businesses can be classed as family businesses.

From the many small firms that make up the backbone of the Cumbrian economy and well known Cumbrian names such as Bells of Lazonby, Story Group and Lakeland, to multi-national giants such as Tata Group, Porsche, Lego and IKEA.

Family run businesses have strengths that set them apart – there’s a great sense of commitment, strong family values and pride in the business. But they also face challenges around issues such reconciling individual and business goals, bringing professionals into the family team, planning for succession and long term ownership. And of course those of working day in day out with family!

Some of the strengths of family businesses were highlighted in recent research carried out by Bradford University Management School. The academics found that family firms generally last longer than non family businesses, and are more resilient in downturns and more innovative.

That’s why Cumbria Business Growth Hub, the Chamber’s business support arm, set up the Family Business Network, working with Sue Coulson of The Family Business Network Ltd.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Family businesses are absolutely vital to the health of Cumbrian economy.

“We know that, over time, growth is much more likely to come from the organic expansion of existing businesses – many of them family businesses – rather than from headline-grabbing inward investment projects.

“In setting up the Family Business Network, our aim was to nurture and develop family businesses, and help them realise their potential.”

This is an initiative which has proved to be of such value to Cumbrian family businesses that the Network, which was established with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Defra, is now going from strength to strength without the need for public funding.

The Family Business Network is open to any family business in the county, whether multi-generational or a two or more current family members.

A core element of the offer are InSight events through which family businesses share insights and talk candidly about the business and family business challenges, often with a company tour. They’re also a great opportunity to network outside the family with others facing similar challenges. InSight events to date have included contributors such as Lakeland, Warburtons, Holker Group. McLures and SN Group.

Who we are?

The Family Business Network is an initiative to support the growth of family businesses in Cumbria.

Utilising the knowledge and resources of other family businesses, as well as a team of industry professionals, the network provides a programme of business support, mentoring and peer support, dedicated workshops, events and training to help your family business grow.

Who is eligible?

Whether you are a multi-generational family business or your business consists of a minimum of two family members, provided you have fewer than 250 employees, your business can access the network.

There are additional benefits for family businesses whose focus on growth includes job creation, who may qualify for 1:1 support.

Why family businesses?

Family-run businesses have strengths that set them apart – there is a great sense of commitment, strong family values and pride in the business.

They also face challenges around reconciling an individual’s goals with business goals, bringing professionals into the family team, planning for succession and issues such as long-term ownership.

In recognising the unique needs that family businesses face, Cumbria Business Growth Hub is providing an exciting range of products to help you increase your competitiveness, resolve issues and increase your profit.

What’s on offer

  • Free events, workshops and training throughout Cumbria on a range of technical, managerial and leadership subjects. There are events to inform, to inspire and to get to know potential customers.
  • Talks and company familiarisation visits to help gain an insight and learning into managing the legal, financial, marketing, leadership and people management aspects of running a family business as well as learning about the history and journey of other family businesses within Cumbria.
  • If your business is eligible for 1:1 assist, you will receive 12 hours of support, consisting of reviewing, planning and specific input on your business needs.
  • Mentoring support for family business leaders.
  • Access to an online directory offering you free advertising for your business. You can also use this web portal as a source of online tools, information and knowledge sharing.

How to contact us

Click here to visit the Cumbria Family Business Network section of the Growth Hub web site, call 0844 257 8450 or contact Sue Coulson of the The Family Business Network Ltd on 07866 536050 – email sue@fambiznet.co.uk

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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