STS aims to establish regional succession planning hubs providing cross- border expertise, training, and mentoring for the family and the business.
Family businesses account for the majority of businesses across the UK, Ireland and elsewhere. Unfortunately some family business owners do not plan for succession and research shows that this lack of planning is one of the major reasons why family businesses fail to sustain or grow their business beyond the first generation of ownership.

The overall aim of the Success through Succession project was to increase the survival rate and growth potential of family owned SMEs across the tri-regional network (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland).

The key elements for inclusion in the Mentoring Support Programme were: Finance, Legal, Organisation Development/Leadership/General Management and Business Psychology.

Following the programme a Family Business Forum was established in Northern Ireland and is led by the private sector. It was created as a hub for family firms to connect with each other, share experiences, exchange ideas and learn in a friendly and sociable setting. The forum hosts regular events exclusively for family owned businesses, providing an opportunity to meet other business owners, hear stories from guest speakers and benefit from the skills of experts in sector.

Resources needed

The project was awarded grant aid of up to €1,603,195 in September 2008 under Priority 1, Theme 1 - Enterprise.

Evidence of success

Specific results were:
• 60 succession plans completed
• 5% increased sales in supported businesses
• 100 new jobs created
• 10% increase in turnover of firms after two years of receiving support
• 5% of turnover in assisted businesses after 2 years came from export sales
• 80% participating businesses still in existence after 2 years
• 10% of assisted businesses enter new markets, both domestic and international.

Difficulties encountered

The role of the pool of mentors was critical to the successful delivery of the STS project and the achievement of the principal project output for the participating companies – a Succession Plan.

Potential for learning or transfer

Family businesses are the lifeblood of any economy. These organisations face formidable growth problems due to family succession issues which limit innovation and diffuse the equity within the firms. This project develops ways of directly working with family businesses to overcome such innate problems to enable them to innovate and increase competitiveness.

The potential for transferring this programme to other regions is high. The overall aim of the Success through Succession project was to increase the survival rate and growth potential of family owned SMEs across the tri-regional network (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland). The key elements for inclusion in the Mentoring Support Programme were:- Finance, - Legal, - Organisation Development/Leadership/General Management, - Business Psychology.

We would recommend that regions establish a Family Business Forum to create learning and networking opportunities for family businesses.

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Project
Main institution
University of Ulster
Location
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date
September 2008
End Date
May 2012

Contact

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