Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has announced plans to launch two new postgraduate study programmes in Family Business in 2016.
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.”
Paul Andrews, Founder and Managing Direct of Family Business United Scotland, 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.”