Dr Matt Lobley at Conference in Switzerland

Rural Family Firms Invited to Join Business Growth Pilot Programme

The Family Business Growth Programme operating in rural Devon and Somerset is a year-long pilot scheme which has received funding from the government's £40 million Rural Growth Network to support the rural family businesses that are vital to the regional economy. The Scheme aims to boost the rural economy by bringing out the best in family firms.  

The programme, which was launched on Thursday 28th March at the University of Exeter's Reed Hall with an initial briefing session, includes a two day intensive masterclass in May at the world-class business school, the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Two Devon-based family businesses attended the IMD course to provide real-life case studies for the delegates. They were Patrick McCaig from Otter Brewery and farmers Peter and Di Wastenage from Budleigh Salterton. 

Businesses participating in this programme can apply for an initial business health check from consultants from one of 12 professional firms and organisations who have received specialist training at IMD. The IMD training course has been designed to reveal the full potential of family firms and farms. Participating businesses will work with professional advisors to navigate their way through the complexities of family business to focus on sustainability and the growth of their companies from one generation to the next.

The Family Business Growth Programme was instigated and managed by Clinton Devon Estates and is being monitored and evaluated by Dr Matt Lobley, co-director of the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter. 

Dr Lobley said: "The course will enhance the skills and knowledge of the professional advisors who, in turn, will enhance the rural family businesses who support and grow the rural economy."  Dr Lobley added: “The programme evaluation will involve visiting the family businesses which have been advised by the course participants, to see whether the advice they received has had a positive impact, for instance if they have implemented a family constitution and succession plan.  At the end of the programme we will make recommendations on how the course canbe rolled-out nationally,” 





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