North West family businesses get ready to tell their stories to a global audience

The Global Family Business Learning Symposium taking place next Thursday 19 November, is a new online event run by the Cumbria-headquartered organisation. The event has been designed to unite a community of family businesses from across the world as they engage in peer to peer learning and knowledge transfer.

Sue Howorth, co-director of The Family Business Network, said: “The Family Business Network was founded in the North West of England and as an organisation, we have very strong links to this regional family businesses community.

“We still work closely with many family firms in the area and we involve them in our events and programmes, where possible. It’s wonderful to have so many of them involved in our forthcoming Symposium, which offers superb global exposure and connectivity to like-minded businesses across the world”.

The 24-hour long event will feature an exciting blend of live and pre-recorded interviews, film pieces, panel debates and insight sessions on a diverse range of topics. Examples include careers in family business and the role of the next generation, how to align family values with business values, responsible leadership within a family business and how to develop your family business story.

Joining speakers and contributors from around the world are a number of North West family business owners, leaders and next generation successors.

Newton-le-Willows based Nichols PLC, was founded in 1908 and is best known as the producer of Vimto. CEO, Marnie Millard will deliver a session focusing on the non-family leaders’ perspective of running a family business.

Next generation siblings, Tom Mathew and Hannah Barlow of Dunsters Farm, Bury will join Christian Mancier of Gorvins Solicitors in a conversation around succession planning, finding the right external support & generational learnings.

Matt Hutchinson, programme manager for the Family Business Excellence Programme at Lancaster University Management School is set to host a panel session with the leaders from three North West family businesses, Partingtons Holiday Parks, Atkinsons Coffee Roasters & First Trace Heating Direct Ltd.

The Symposium will also feature the unique stories and real-life accounts of several North West family businesses through a series of short films. Featured in the first film are Liverpool-based JJ Smith Woodworking Machinery Ltd and in the second film are Cumbrian farming diversification business, Dodgson Wood, financial and mortgage advisers Stan Sherlock Associates Ltd and artisan cheesemakers, Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses.

In a pre-recorded three-part interview, Matt Bennett of Cheshire-based family business, DRB Group emotively tells his story and personal journey to becoming CEO.

In a second pre-recorded interview, Sue Howorth and Dave Clarkson along with Joanne Stronach of Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors will chat to AGMA Director, Pippa Franklin on a family businesses’ place within the community and what it means to be a next generation successor.  

Dave Clarkson, co-director of The Family Business Network said, “It’s a privilege to be able to share the diversity, history, knowledge and talent found within family businesses in the North West. We hope many more from the region will join us next week at the Symposium to learn, celebrate and share what the sector has to offer”.

The event is aimed at families and those working within family businesses, as well as those supporting the sector. The academic nature of the event is also valuable for students, who can take advantage of a special, reduced ticket price. 

Subscribers of The Family Business Network are also entitled to a discount on tickets, which are priced at £45 including VAT.

To find out more about the Global Family Business Learning Symposium, or to book tickets, visit