The Great British Family Business Conference 2021


Event Details


Join us for our flagship national family business conference that is now in its ninth year, online but with all the normal components!

Not only does it bring the family business together, it provides a great opportunity to discuss some of the unique challenges facing family firms and to hear insights from other family business people and their advisers who have already dealt with some of these challenges too.

The theme for the 2021 conference is ‘Managing The Family Business In Difficult Times & Planning For The Future.’

The ongoing challenges around the global pandemic have resulted in us taking the event virtual but working closely with our partners at Cameron, we are able to provide all the elements of the normal event too – keynote speakers, panel discussions, exhibition, breakout sessions and networking. Not exactly the same but all from the comfort of your own office/desk and a great programme too.

As well as some great speakers providing great insights there are a selection of breakout sessions and there is plenty of time for networking, the option to ask questions via the chat facility and to video call and interact with the other delegates too..

Great speakers. Great insights. Great venue. Great value.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Great British Family Business in March.

The full programme of speakers will be announced in due course.

The Programme

8.30 amRegistration and Networking

9.15 amIntroduction and Welcome – Paul Andrews, CEO, Family Business United

9.25 am – Opening Keynote – Building A Family Business For The Future

Prof. Barry Leahey MBE is the CEO of Playdale who are the UK’s leading manufacturer of children’s playground equipment with distributors in 50 countries.

Playdale Playgrounds Ltd. has designed, manufactured and installed over 23,000 playgrounds in over 50 countries around the world for over 40 years. It is a family-owned business based in the North West of England. The family business dates back to 1735 when the Croasdale family began working in the forestry and allied timber trades. It progressed into the playground industry in 1978, when Playdale Playgrounds Ltd. was established. The company prides itself on providing an Experience of high-quality products matched with a high-quality service.

Playdale have won national Manufacturing and export awards, Barry personally receiving an MBE for services to International Trade on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2017. In 2018 Barry was named IoD ‘Global Director of the Year’ and ‘Cumbria Business Person of the Year’, featuring in the ‘Telegraph’s Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders’ and ‘The Manufacturer Top 100 people in Manufacturing’, he is currently the Chair of the Institute of Directors in Cumbria and a Honorary Professor at Lancaster University Management School.

Hear Barry share the journey of this ninth generation family firm as a non-family CEO who is embracing the digital agenda and building a family firm fit for the future.

9.55 am – Family Business Insight – Taking Their Heritage Into The Future

Barker Group is the largest domestic laundry in the UK and a leading specialists Dry Cleaner. The business, with a heritage dating back to 1861 and a family involvement that spans 8 decades and 3 generations, offers a traditional, high quality private laundry service and enjoys an outstanding reputation amongst its loyal client base. Barker serves households across Greater London and Southern England and is a Royal Warrant Holder.

Managing Director Matthew Barker joined the family business in 1990 and in 2000 bought the company from his father, re-branding to become Barker Group, which is now simply known as Barker.

Under Matthew’s experienced and ambitious steer, the Barker brand has gone from strength to strength and now boasts Barker Laundry, Barker Collection and Barker Collars.

Join us to hear Matthew share an insight into the evolution of the business and their plans for the future.

10.25 am – Family Business Journey – Growing The Female Voice In Family Firms

As an Indian food expert, Sarah Ali Choudhury has been described by Forbes as one of the worlds foremost authorities in Indian Food. Her recipes and articles have featured in publications locally, nationally and internationally including Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Independent and various others. Forbes highlighted her as a disrupter in the Indian catering industry and titled her ‘The Curry Queen’.

Sarah has a family business background, growing up with her parents who own a restaurant in Bridport, where her journey began. Sarah has won numerous awards and been involved in some incredible projects that have helped her build up a phenomenal distinction of understanding and addressing issues that women encounter in the business world.

Join us to hear Sarah share her insights and learnings and the benefits they can bring to family businesses.

11.00 amNetworking Break

Time to grab a coffee, visit the exhibitors and meet people in the virtual networking session.

11.30 am – Family Business Insight – A Next Generation Perspective

James Chase, Global Brand Ambassador and Marketing Director at Chase Distillery. works alongside his father William and brother Harry and they are on a mission to champion field to bottle spirits and to create the worlds most sustainable distillery!

This is a family that has entrepreneurship at their core creating award winning gin and vodka from potatoes grown on their own farm in Herefordshire. A story of continuing innovation and a next generation that is developing a global brand, embracing the digital and social media revolution in the work that they do.

During 2020, spirits giant Diageo acquired the business and James will share his thoughts on the sale, the emotional conversations they had in the lead up to the event and their plans for the future of the family and the business.

11.55 am – Snap Learning – Creating A Sustainable Family Business

Join us for a session with Josh Baron from BanyanGlobal looking at some of the keys to creating a successful multi-generational family firm. Josh is a partner and one of the founders of Banyan who have helped over 200 family businesses from 20 countries on six continents successfully transition. Their clients’ operating businesses span many industries, including manufacturing, luxury and consumer goods, industrial services, real estate, communications, and more. They generate revenues from hundreds of millions of dollars a year to multiple billions.

They are the world’s leading privately-held, family-owned or controlled businesses. Josh is a partner and co-founder of BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors, and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School. He is a leading family business adviser and also writes articles regularly on family business topics for the Harvard Business Review.

12.30 pm Lunch and Networking

1.15 pm – Panel Discussion – Innovation & Opportunity Arising In The Current Climate

Our panellists will be sharing their insights into the state of the nation, the challenges they face, how they have dealt with the pandemic, opportunities going forward and sharing their thoughts on issues such as succession, engaging the next generation, developing the family business brand, investing in the future, governance and much more besides.

Our panellists include:

  • Jake Karia, Managing Director – Jake & Nayns
  • Iain Stirling, Founder & Director – Arbikie
  • Maria Whitehead MBE – Managing Director, Hawkshead Relish
  • Helen Dyl, Operations Director & Legal Counsel – Snap Products

2.15 pm – Breakout Sessions

Delegates will be able to register and attend their preferred breakout session from those available as part of the registration process for the event. The following sessions will be available:

Breakout 1 – The Authority Moment – The Challenges Of Owning A Family Business During A Crisis.

Mairi Mickel, a leading family business consultant and family business member will host this session that looks at some of the unique challenges that family businesses and their owners have had to deal with over the past 12 months.

Breakout 2 – Keeping It In The Family. Pensions, Investments & Your Company.

Family business’ have gone through enormous change over the last year and are continuing to face challenges this coming year. In this session we will look at how pension assets are able to play an important part in the future financial health of your business. There will be a particular focus on Small Self-Administered pension Schemes (SSAS) as they have been a key component of financial planning for family business’ and UK SME’s since the late 1970’s. A better understanding and clarity of knowledge relating to the appropriate use of a SSAS can create opportunities to save tax for your business, delivering additional working capital for further growth for your business and/or passing down of wealth & assets tax efficiently to the next generation.

During this session, the team from Mattioli Woods will endeavour to remove the myth and mystique surrounding these, and other, appropriate tax efficient structures available to you as directors and owners and your business.

Breakout 3 – Wellbeing & The Family Business.

With a deep sense of responsibility to people, communities and wider society, family businesses are well placed to survive, integrate and grow in a post-covid world. But at a time when survival is, for many at least, top of the business agenda, what can we do to embrace those core values, to look after and develop the wellbeing and resilience of our people and ourselves?

Join us for an insight from Terry Streather on developing a successful approach to well being in the family business.

Breakout 4 – The Business Leaders Forum.

Join us for an interactive discussion around the current concerns for family business leaders today. Facilitated by Ben Fowler of Western Pension Solutions and Jason Oakley of Recognise Bank and open to family business leaders and directors only.

Breakout 5 – The Entrepreneurial Family Business Journey

Facilitated by Andy Collier of The FD Centre this session will look at the journey of the entrepreneur in the family firm. You chose to become an entrepreneur because you wanted freedom, time, the ability to indulge your creativity and further the family business. At this stage in your business journey, how is that going for you? Have you constructed the foundations of your business in a way that affords you the life you really want and deliver the family drivers?

This session will share with you how you can move to a position of owning your business rather than just running it. and talk through the mechanics of how to build a financial cornerstone that enables you to get out of the day to day and generate cash, profit and increased valuation which will give you the freedom to choose how you spend your time.

3.15 pmNetworking Break

3.30 pm – Closing Keynote – Standing The Test Of Time

For Smith of Derby it all began way back in 1856 and they have been clockmakers ever since. It started with an apprentice: John Smith began his career with the Whitehurst clockmaking company. From these beginnings, this family company has grown to become one of Britain’s largest and oldest clock manufacturers, and a major player on the timekeeping world stage.

The 5th and 6th generation of ownership is part of the day-to-day running of Smith of Derby today and the family ethos runs throughout the culture of the team.

Join us for our closing keynote as Bob Betts, Managing Director of Smith of Derby shares the journey which continues to this day and celebrate their achievements as a long standing family firm which saw them take the Family Business United, Supreme Family Business of the Year title in 2020.

4.30 pm – Close

Thank you as always to our sponsors and partners:

Western Pension Solutions , Mattioli Woods, Vistage, Liberti Group

Feedback from previous delegates:

The Great British Family Business Conference 2020 took place during the Coronavirus pandemic but here is what some of the delegates had to say:

  • “What a fantastic, vibrant and informative event. Undoubtedly the best conference that I have been to for many years. Great insights from excellent speakers that really struck a chord with me and I have taken away a lot of actions to consider for my family business. Thank you.”
  • “You did so well, kept the atmosphere light yet informative and I am sure those who did attend will have gained great insights into other businesses, and I hope managed to speak to lots of others who were there as well.”
  • “A fantastic event yesterday – you should be proud of what was achieved on the day and the great speakers who shared their stories.”
  • “Paul, you and your team have a real passion and professionalism for the way you do what you do. #GBFB2020 was absolutely brilliant and more family businesses need to get involved and be part of it. Love it each year and the date is firmly in my calendar every year!”
  • “We all really enjoyed the diverse range of speakers and look forward to next years’ event!”
  • “Thanks @FamilyBizPaul for a #fantastic #enjoyable day with #exceptional speakers we came away #infused & #educated #staystrong.”
  • “Great day out in London, meeting some fantastic family businesses. Massive well done @FamilyBizPaul for putting on a great event, especially considering current situation! Look forward to next years event! Thumbs up.”
  • “Well done on hosting a great event and despite the prevailing circumstances it had all the hallmarks of success.”
  • “Fascinating day as always with some really interesting speakers, showing the diversity and strength of the #familybusiness sector. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of it and for your hard work bringing it all together.”
  • “A great event!”
  • “Only one word for it – OUTSTANDING in all regards! Looking forward to returning in 2021.”
  • “Another great event – each year just gets better and better. 2020 is going to be a hard act to follow.”

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