Family businesses flock to Glasgow for landmark business event

Hundreds of family businesses will gather this week as the annual IFB National Family Business Conference, which kicks off on 14 June, comes to Glasgow for the first time

The three-day event will see family firms of all sizes and from every sector within the UK meet up to discuss the future of the family business model and how family businesses innovate and invest to support the next generation of businesses and their leaders.

In Scotland, there are more than 280,000 family businesses – around 84% of all businesses in Scotland.  Together they employ 874,000 people.

The conference will bring together family firms from across the country to share and learn together, while showcasing some of Glasgow and Scotland’s family business success stories.

Alongside the conference, the IFB is restating the case for why family business should not be overlooked, and the central role they have to play in creating prosperous communities.

Exclusive research commissioned by the IFB and produced by Censuswide*, of more than 2,000 respondents in late May, found that the British public find family-run businesses to be the most trustworthy companies (25.4%) when compared to PLCs (14.7%), venture capital firms (7.6%), private equity backed-companies (9.8%).

In addition, the polling found that the public thought family businesses looked after their employees the most compared to other business models apart from employee-owned organisations, which scored the same as family-run businesses (27.2%).

Family businesses also scored highly when it came to customer service, with over 21% of respondents associating the companies with the phrase ‘have great customer service’ and are seen as the most trustworthy businesses in Scotland (23.5%).

In 2020, family businesses across the whole of the UK generated £575 billion in gross value added (GVA) contribution to GDP (gross domestic product), and employed 13.9 million people.

This means that family firms comprised 85.9% of all UK firms, directly generated 44.4% of GDP, and were responsible for 51% of all private sector employment in the UK economy in 2020.

The conference attendees will hear how a thriving family business sector is essential to achieving a more prosperous society with long-term sustainable growth. Family businesses offer a model of sustainable and responsible business that others can learn from, be part of, work with, or even adopt.


Chief Executive, Neil Davy, said: “We are delighted to bring the UK’s biggest family business conference to Glasgow for the first time this week.  As well as celebrating some fantastic local firms, it’s an opportunity to come together to share their experiences and have their voice heard.

“For too long, political, industry and business decision-making has taken a restricted approach to investment decisions that responds to priorities of non-family business PLCs, whose priority is to meet shareholder demands for short-term returns on investments.

“The UK needs to formulate a growth strategy that encourages and incentivises businesses to focus on longer-term investment opportunities and returns for stakeholders, the environment, and the UK’s role and place in the wider world.

“That starts with listening to the thousands of family businesses in Scotland and across the UK and supporting them in making day-to-day decisions that encourage them – and gives them the confidence to invest – while also helping to tackle wider challenges like revitalising our high streets, creating job opportunities and improving everyone’s livelihoods.”