On Thursday I proudly watched three wonderful Cumbrian family businesses pick up prestigious Family Business of The Year Awards at The Mayfair in London. The inspiring winners were;

Carlisle based Wm Armstrong who were awarded the title of Transport and Logistics Family Business of the Year as well as being runners-up to the overall winners HMG Paints of Manchester.

Hawkshead Relish were crowned the country’s best Small Family Business of the Year

The Churchmouse at Barbon won the competitive title of Hotel and Leisure Family Business of the Year

This trio of brilliance were not the only Cumbrian representatives on the night as thirteen local businesses made it the finals of the national awards. To see such strong representation from our county was incredible and thanks in no small part to the Cumbria Family Business Award’s collaboration with this national awards. I would personally like to extend a huge well done to everyone who made it to the finals of such a hotly contested celebration of family business.

The Lucky 13…Wm Armstrong*, Zeffirellis & Fellinis, Sally’s Cottages, PHX Training, Grasmere Gingerbread, Bells of Lazonby, GM & SM Marrs, Lakes Cottage Holidays, Hawkshead Relish*, The Churchmouse at Barbon*, JB Banks of Cockermouth, Reays and JMP Foodservices.

What right do I have to be proud of the Cumbrian contingent?..Well for me Thursday night felt like the result of three years hard-work. Since setting up the Cumbria Family Business Network in April 2014 the network has grown from nothing to over eight-hundred engaged family businesses, seen countless Family Business Insight events and culminated in the Cumbria Family Business Awards in March 2017 which I launched with brilliant entrepreneurs Janett Walker and Sophia Newton. My work and support for this vital sector of our economy and community has been important to me and one of the reasons I sponsored the North Category of the Family Business United Awards. The ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of family businesses impresses me daily, coupled with their family-business and community-centred values it’s no surprise to me that Cumbrian family businesses represent over 85% of businesses in the county. To see them recognised on a national stage was a true highlight and shows the hard-work has paid off. Today, now all the excitement has died down I’ve taken stock again and am genuinely excited about the future of the Family Business Network; with The Family Business Conference taking place on 19th October and strides being made into establishing the network in Lancashire it feels as though 2017 is going down as a landmark year with 2018 hot on its heels!

Congratulations Cumbria, I’m with you all the way!

All photo credit to Family Business United.