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The Greater Manchester Family Business Association, a ground-breaking initiative to help family businesses across the region has just been launched by Stockport-based Gorvins Solicitors, BDO Accountants and the NatWest Bank.

The Greater Manchester Family Business Association will offer unparalleled support and advice for family owned firms – from start-ups to those who have been operating for multiple generations.

Christian Mancier, Partner and Joint Head of the Gorvins Family Business team said: ‘Gorvins Solicitors already has a strong and successful record working with family owned and managed businesses. Businesses which we recognise are the cornerstone of the economy and the post-austerity revival. By launching the Association such businesses will now have a forum where they can share their experiences with other family businesses, share and promote best practice and seek professional advice about all aspects of their business needs.

The association`s inaugural event – attended by  representatives from 60 family businesses – took place at Emirates Old Trafford where BBC journalist Penny Haslem chaired a panel featuring representatives from third  generation firms William Turner & Son, and Plumbs Upholstery as well as the Seven Bro7hers Brewery.

Topics discussed included managing multiple generations in and out of the business, incentivising outsiders, and managing work-life balance along with governance and succession planning.

Ian Bingham, Partner at BDO Accountants said that his firm had strong credentials in supporting and advising family run businesses in the region. “Our goal is to work with the families to ensure they continue to succeed and to help to secure the future of the business for further generations”.

“What BDO does well is highlighting where we can add value and provide the expertise to fill any gaps in knowledge and experience. We are proud to be part of the Greater Manchester Family Business Association which is a perfect forum for open and honest discussions as well as educating on the latest legislation and business news”.

There are almost three million family businesses in the UK, according to the Institute of Family Businesses. Combined, they employ 9.2 million people and account for two-thirds of the country’s private sector enterprises.

Dave Meredith, Director Greater Manchester Commercial, NatWest said that the bank already supported many family businesses in and around in the region and so understood their specific issues.

“The Greater Manchester Family Business Association will strive to help current management achieve their ambitions from both business and personal perspectives.”

He added: “The positive feedback from our initial event indicates that getting like-minded business people together and giving them the opportunity to debate these issues and share experiences is a powerful experience and we are looking forward to future events.”