Family Business Networks: Developing Education Networks to Support University-Industry Innovation

Developing an inclusive inovation network that encompasses a University, professional organisation and family businesses in Scotland will be described as a medium-to-long term strategy for engagement

Claire Seaman
Queen Margaret University

Richard Bent
Queen Margaret University

Background and Objectives
The development of successful university-industry innovation partnerships is a multi-faceted process, where the development of clear and highly specific project goals is a key essential aid to planning. Focusing on the development of individual projects, however, risks overlooking two key factors. The development of inclusive innovation systems depends on a medium-to-long term approach and most businesses are owned, run or supported by families. The numbers are compelling: in a Scottish context somewhere between 65-80% of businesses are family owned and this pattern exists across businesses of different sizes, operating in different sectors and across rural and urban communities. Many of those businesses would be defined as SMEs, but families also run some of the best-established businesses in Scotland. In 2018, research by FBU Scotland with partners that include Queen Margaret Business School indicated that the Top 100 family businesses in Scotland alone contributed around £1billion in profits before tax, contribute around £16.6billion in turnover and represent around 11% onshore GDP, employing 103K people.