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New Family Business degrees to be launched at QMU

Posted: 18th January 2016

Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has announced plans to launch two new postgraduate study programmes in Family Business in 2016.

Family Business QMU
(L-R) Grant Bell (Owner of East Links Family Park, Dunbar, East Lothian), Dr Claire Seaman (Reader in Enterprise & Family Business at Queen Margaret University) & Richard Bent (MBA Director at Queen Margaret University) at East Links Family Park, Dunbar, East Lothian.

Following five years of industry consultation with organisations such as Scottish Family Business Association, Family Business United and a range of family-run Scottish businesses, the University has developed a new MSc and MBA in Family Business and Small Business to meet a growing demand.

The two specialist programmes will offer experienced business professionals, as well as recent business graduates and those who are returning to the family business after studying for an unrelated degree , greater insight into the value, practice and function of family businesses. Topics will include family business succession, governance, behavioural finance and risk.

In 2014, a major research project involving QMU’s business experts revealed how family businesses and SMEs in Scotland have the potential to boost the country’s annual economy by up to £1.23 billion.

The study, which also involved government bodies, businesses and professional advisers, indicates that Scotland needs to do more to build and protect this important sector. There is an opportunity for Scotland to lead America and parts of Europe in providing the knowledge, skills and support needed to become a world-wide centre of excellence.

In Scotland, SMEs account for 99.3% of all private sector enterprises and 63% of these are family businesses.

Dr Claire Seaman, Reader in Enterprise & Family Business at QMU, said: “After several years of industry consultation, we’re very pleased to have reached this milestone in the development of our new MSc and MBA in Family Business Management.

“We will continue to engage and work with Scotland’s SME and family business policy makers and practitioners to explore ways of improving the growth and sustainability of this vital sector.

“Our research suggests that family businesses are crying out for the right kind of support to help them succeed across the generations. If we want to change thinking and practice and improve business succession across these businesses, we need an integrated approach to learning, research and influencing policy.”

Commenting on the planned Family Business programmes at QMU, Martin Stepek, Chief Executive of Scottish Family Business Association, said: “The Scottish Family Business Association has worked collaboratively with QMU for many years and we’ve found the University to be proactive and innovative in its explorations of family businesses. QMU has continued to develop and grow its range and depth of research, learning and teaching, and we’re all the beneficiaries of this work.

“The Scottish Family Business Association is highly supportive of plans at QMU to review their MBA and MSc programmes with a plan to develop a family business strand within each postgraduate path. We’re prepared to help assist with these plans and future developments by providing practical support.”

Paul Andrews, Founder and Managing Direct of Family Business United, added: “Many of Scotland’s businesses are family owned and managed, and make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.

“We’re delighted to support the new programmes at QMU as including family businesses in education in Scotland is a major development and something that should assist in the further growth of these businesses.

“Family Business United Scotland (FBUS) is at the heart of the Scottish family business sector as the leading organisation championing the sector and providing a voice to celebrate the contribution made by family firms across Scotland. As well as providing a voice for the sector, FBUS is growing as a community and helping to disseminate best practice, news, insights and more besides. We look forward to seeing the courses develop and become an integral part of the learning for the next generation of family business owners in Scotland.”

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