Family businesses gather in Edinburgh

In March 2015, members of the Institute for Family Business (IFB) Scotland gathered in Edinburgh to hear from two CEOs of BGF-backed family businesses: Richard Freeman of ACS Clothing based just outside Glasgow and Max Dudson of Dudson, a manufacturer of ceramic tableware founded more than 200 years ago.

The dinner, held at the Royal College of Surgeons, took place at the same time as a report by Oxford Economics - commissioned by the IFB - showed that family-run firms are turning their attention towards growth rather than survival following the financial crisis and ensuing recession.

The report reveals that companies are looking to bring on board external finance to buy equipment and expand their businesses rather than simply to fund working capital and tread water.

David D Murray, chairman of IFB Scotland, who attended the dinner said: “Taking on equity investment might be uncomfortable for some families because they are worried about losing control of their businesses.

“With more than 50 per cent of the Scottish private sector workforce employed in family firms, there are compelling reasons to consider funding for growth in way that’s non-controlling. The generation that recognises this may be the one to change the family’s future for the better.”

Simon Munro, regional director Scotland at BGF, highlighted the fact that with a BGF investment, families do not need to sell a controlling stake in their companies but could instead trade a minority holding in return for investment.

He added that, “External investors don’t just bring cash to a business – they also bring expertise. BGF introduces non-executive directors to the businesses in which it invests to offer them advice to help them grow, whether through exports, diversification or other options.”