NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards recognise the power of family businesses
By Sangeeta Waldron — Some of the UK’s largest and most successful businesses are family-owned, including some of the country’s most recognisable and well-loved brands. Two thirds of businesses are family owned - three million in total, generating over a quarter of the country’s GDP, employing around nine and a half million people. In 2014 a PwC survey found that growth levels for UK family firms were noticeably higher than the global average. However, today, many are finding it tough to compete in the post-recession and now ‘the current BREXIT’ climate. They are aware of the need to keep pace with the speed of change in an increasingly fluid and disruptive environment where innovation is key and skills are scarce. Many are responding by professionalising the way they operate – from systems and processes, to corporate governance. But there another challenge - succession planning.
Family businesses are often considered incompatible with entrepreneurship because they are usually tradition-bound and multi- generational. However, for family firms to continually prosper, they need to ensure that they pass on the entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities to create new streams of wealth across future generations. Succession planning is also a big issue in business and, if handled well, can make a massive difference to the future viability of a company.
Acknowledging these family companies, the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards year sees the introduction of a new category this year the “Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year,” which will be awarded to those leading and excelling within a family business. Passing on the business baton to the younger generation is a challenge and these awards want to celebrate those who have successfully managed that transition.
The NatWest Awards celebrates the hard work and inspiring stories of British entrepreneurs, not just their financial success. There are 11 categories to enter in each host city – Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and London. This year, the Awards have attracted a number of high profile judges including James Caan CBE; Hayley Parsons, founder of Gocompare.com; Tony Mascolo, co-founder of TONI&GUY; and Jeff Lynn, co-founder of Seedrs.
In its five-year history, the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards has celebrated some outstanding entrepreneurs who have gone on to become household names. Previous winners have been David Buttress, former CEO of Just Eat; Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company; James Watt, founder of BrewDog; and Alexander Solomou, founder and CEO of TheLADBible Group. The Awards has expanded its reach across five cities, up from two in 2016, and has secured sponsorship from a number of leading brands. NatWest is the headline sponsor, while MINI has recently renewed its support for 2017 and is sponsoring the ‘Creative Entrepreneur of the Year’ award.
It is important that British entrepreneurs are championed, as entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of any country’s economy. Currently, there are more businesses in the UK than ever before and it is clear that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. NatWest bank believes it has a “duty to help grow this economy and support and develop this vibrant entrepreneurial community.”
Photo Credit: Nat Awards