Claire knows how to keep it in family

Dr Claire Seaman is putting the focus on family firms. Picture: contributed
Dr Claire Seaman is putting the focus on family firms. Picture: contributed
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A FAMILY business expert from Queen Margaret University is taking part in a key national debate about the future of the sector.

Dr Claire Seaman, Reader in Enterprise and Family Business at the university, will host a workshop focusing on the best ways to operate a family business.

A recent research project involving QMU’s business experts revealed how family businesses and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland have the potential to boost the country’s annual economy by up to £1.23 billion.

In Scotland, SMEs account for 99.3 per cen5t of all private sector enterprises and 63 per cent of these are family businesses.

The study, which also involved government bodies, businesses and professional advisers, indicates that Scotland needs to do more to build and protect this important sector.

The team concluded there is an opportunity for Scotland to lead America and other parts of Europe in providing the knowledge, skills and support needed to become a world-wide centre of excellence.

Dr Seaman will run her workshop, called “Family and Business Strategy – Governance and Succession”, at the Scottish Family Business Conference in Glasgow tomorrow .

It is being run be Family Business United Scotland as part of Scottish Family Business Week which runs until Friday.

She said: “All our research and work with businesses emphasises the importance of family-owned and managed businesses.

“That’s why we’re tailoring some of our educational provision around family business – our research suggests that family businesses are crying out for the right kind of support to help them succeed across the generations.

“If we want to change thinking and practice and improve business succession across these businesses, we need an integrated approach to learning, research and influencing policy.”

Dr Seaman has also published a new blog, which is titled “What Does the Future Hold for Family Businesses?”, which is linked to research undertaken researchers at QMU into the South Asian community in Edinburgh.

QMU has recently launched two postgraduate study programmes in family business following five years of consultation with a wide range of family-run businesses.