Nov 102014

A press release from Queen Margaret University details research on the potential growth of Scotland’s economy, as the inaugural Scottish Family Business Week launches today (10’th November):

To coincide with the first Scottish Family Business Week (10-14 November), a major new research project has revealed how family businesses and SMEs in Scotland have the potential to boost the country’s annual economy by up to £1.23 billion.

The study, involving universities, government bodies, businesses and professional advisers, indicates that Scotland needs to do more to build and protect this important sector. There is an opportunity for Scotland to lead America and parts of Europe in providing the knowledge, skills and support needed to become a world-wide centre of excellence.

In Scotland, SMEs account for 99.3% of all private sector enterprises and 63% of these are family businesses.

73% of Scottish family businesses want to keep the business in the family.  In 2012, only 12% of family owned businesses in Scotland were passed down to the second generation and only 7% of family owned SMEs had been in the family for three generations or more.

This new research is raising awareness of the impact of poor succession, lack of exit strategies, failure to successfully transfer a family business from one generation to another and how this could be damaging the Scottish economy.

Over 100 representatives from SMEs and family business, government agencies, education and professional advisers from around Scotland attended two landmark conferences held in Edinburgh and Inverness to discuss what the research means for Scotland.

David C Watt, Director of Goodison Group in Scotland, said:  “There is a fantastic opportunity here. The results of the research project will be used to engage with Scotland’s SME and family business policy makers and practitioners. Scotland has the potential to be a world leader in this field.”

Dr Claire Seaman, Senior Lecturer in Enterprise & Family Business at QMU, said: “Feedback from this latest study has confirmed that family businesses are crying out for the right kind of support to help them succeed beyond the first generation.”

Grant Bell, Owner of East Links Family Park in Dunbar, East Lothian, said: “Queen Margaret University is currently working with us on the next phase of development in the Park with the intention to enter into a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University and a postgraduate student.”

East Links Family Park has just received the Family Business Award from Midlothian and East Lothian Chambers of Commerce. The award highlights the importance of family businesses to the Scottish economy.

Two short films, which have been produced by GGiS and Scotland’s Futures Forum as part of the project, which can be viewed online at and  The films showcase the two landmark conferences that were held in Edinburgh and inverness earlier this year.

The research project: ‘Sustainability: The challenge facing Scotland’s SME and family businesses’ is a partnership project between Goodison Group in Scotland (GGiS) and its strategic partner Scotland’s Futures Forum, in collaboration with Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh; Scottish Family Business Association; Bank of Scotland; University of Strathclyde; University of the Highlands and Islands; Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Wright, Johnston and MacKenzie LLP.