Family firms crucial to success of economy: Foster

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed a partnership between business advisory firm BDO and Queen’s University Belfast, to build a stronger alignment between academia and family businesses.

The partnership between BDO Centre for Family Business and Queen’s University School of Management will focus specifically on issues impacting on family businesses in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at an event to launch the initiative in Queen’s Riddel Hall, Arlene Foster said: “The family business sector plays a vital role in the success of our local economy, as it is estimated that approximately 75% of all businesses in Northern Ireland are family run. Partnerships between the public sector, private sector and academia are therefore important, as we need to ensure that the family business sector not only continues to grow, but that they have the long-term vision needed to survive.

Over coming months, a number of seminars sponsored by Invest NI, will be held to provide an opportunity for family businesses who are facing the specific challenges, to discuss the key issues affecting their ongoing success and growth.

The Minister continued: “Every business is faces difficulties. However, family-owned firms face unique challenges which determine growth and affect success in the market place.

“Invest Northern Ireland’s current ‘Boosting Business’ initiative aims to enhance the capability of, and improve the performance of, individual businesses, including those within this sector. To help family businesses succeed they can access a range of support to build workforce skills, use new technology to improve competitiveness, take existing products to new markets, develop new ones, or create and protect jobs in these difficult economic times.”

Initial findings of research carried out by BDO and Queens University, to develop a better understanding of the complex environment within which family businesses operate were also published at the event.