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Black Country professional firms behind region’s family business organisation

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05 May 2015

Black Country professional firms behind region’s family business organisation

Leading professional advisers and banks from the Black Country are backing a new division of an organisation that is dedicated to supporting family and privately owned businesses when it formally launches in the region this month (May).

The organisation, Families in Business (FiB) is headquartered in the West Midlands, and operates across the UK to provide a network of regional offices, providing support, consultancy and membership to family firms and their owners.

FiB’s new Black Country division launches with the support of its Approved Advisers in the region – accountants Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP and law firm Higgs & Sons.

The network in the Black Country also includes Lloyds Bank, Pertemps Recruitment, and the local office of the Business Growth Fund, and together they provide a robust community focused on addressing and supporting the specific needs of Black Country family businesses with advice on matters such as shareholder agreements, succession planning, skills retention and access to finance.

FiB is the UK’s only genuinely neutral organisation run solely for family businesses and which has a team of professionals that have on-the-job, first-hand experience of working in a family business.

A key aspect of the FiB’s programme in the Black Country is a new non-competing peer group, FiB Insight, which local family businesses can join to take part in a series of intimate meetings and exclusive events to discuss challenges and share best practice and experiences.

The region’s FiB group also launches with the support of local businessman Patrick Laight (pictured), founder of Willenhall-based logistics company Aspray24, who has been invited to take up the role of FiB Champion – a feature group of the family business organisation that includes established and respected leaders of family businesses. Other FiB Champions are Perween Warsi of S & A Foods, James Timpson of Timpson Limited, Trevor Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery, John Hardwick MD of Grafton International, Kirsty Davies-Chinnock of PPS, and Josie Morris of Wool Cool.

FiB CEO Dani Saveker founded the organisation in 2012 to ensure support, resources, tools and a “neutral community” exists for family businesses. She was formerly the fourth generation and chief executive in her own family’s Birmingham-based manufacturing business for seven years. “FiB exists to support family businesses from a position of knowing some of what they are experiencing and the challenges they are facing, which we can approach from a position of knowing, having ‘lived it’ for many years,” she explains. “FiB, its team and professional community are the UK’s only neutral support organisation with this type of first hand working knowledge and our team is therefore uniquely-placed to truly empathise with and relate to the family businesses and their advisers that we are working with each day.

“The organisation delivers focused consultancy, membership, events and tools tailored to the needs of family and owner managed businesses across the UK. The Black Country is home to tens of thousands of family run and owned businesses – the West Midlands as a whole has more than 200,000 family firms which represents some seven percent of the three million family businesses across the UK. It is vital that our unique organisation is available, on the ground, in the region, to provide our specialist support network and a team dedicated to the Black Country, so this new division is an important step in our rapid national roll-out campaign and a key addition to our network of regional offices.”

Johnathan Dudley, Office Managing Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill in the Black Country, adds: “As an accountant whose family owned and ran their own business, I am all too aware of the need to address the ‘non-financial’ as well as the financial issues that surround family businesses, which is why Crowe Clark Whitehill is delighted to be working with FiB and our fellow professionals to provide support and practical advice to the region’s family businesses.  We look forward to helping family businesses with their journeys to achieve their goals and aspirations.”

Andy Ball, Business Relationship Director at Higgs & Sons, says: “We are excited to be working with Dani, her team, and the region’s professional advisers to further our support for family businesses across the region. Higgs & Sons began as a family firm 140 years ago. We now provide a broad service offering to a range of organisations and individuals, but family businesses remain at the core of what we do.  Having a close relationship with FiB is a natural step for the firm due to the synergies between us.”

2015/16 Annual Survey – take part

FiB has recently launched its 2015/16 Annual Survey with the aim of uncovering and identifying the main professional and personal issues affecting the individuals working in the UK’s family businesses. To take part in this, the third FiB survey, which is open until the end of May, contact FiB via email: office@fibcommunity.com.

For more information about Families in Business and the support available to family and privately-owned businesses follow @fibcommunity on Twitter.