The second annual Family Business Conference took place at The Halston Carlisle on 19th October. Over one hundred delegates attended the event, highlights of which included talks from national family business leaders; William Robinson of Robinson’s Brewery and Fred Story of Story Homes. The Family Business Conference was created and organised by Sue Howorth of The Family Business Network Ltd. Sue founded the Cumbria Family Business Network a number of years ago before establishing The Family Business Network Ltd earlier this year which now represents and supports family businesses from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

Tara Telford of Twoey, Kate Balchin of Wold Top Brewery and Izzy Whitehead presented an inspirational and strong vision for the future of family businesses. Tara has big plans for Twoey but also respects the heritage of the business as she stated “if I can be as good as my mum I’ll be doing brilliantly. She’s the best business woman I know.” Therein lies the difference between a corporate and a family run firm, the genuine feeling and emotion create something special.

“I didn’t get to see you at the close of yesterday’s conference.  Well done for all the hard work you put into it.  It was such an excellent blend of contributions.    I think it went very well indeed and has given many good ideas at all levels of business” – Diana Matthews

 

“Congratulations on a superb day yesterday, I had so many comments from people who said it was a triumph and really inspirational” – Maria Whitehead

 

 

“This was my first time with The Family Business Network.   It was an absolute revelation – so much positivity” – Sarah Schofield

The honesty of the experiences shared ranged from childhood memories through to the day Fred Story bought Carlisle United without telling his wife! The Family Business Network Ltd aim to create a safe and welcoming space for family businesses to share these stories without fear of judgement or retribution and being in a peer to peer environment is conducive to this.

Highlights including the fascinating talks by William and Fred were varied, with Gill Hall of Butler’s Cheeses Peer to Peer session being lauded as a deeply moving and personal moment of the day. Gill shared her personal family business succession challenge for all the room to hear, a brave moment. It was clearly an issue that resonated with the other family businesses as you could have heard a pin drop as she spoke. The session was run by Jacqui Jackson of Thomas Jardine & Co, a Carlisle based support organisation aimed at helping family run food and drink businesses.  I will be announcing some collaborative Peer to Peer sessions with Jacqui in the near future so do keep your eyes peeled for more.

Tara Telford of Twoey, Kate Balchin of Wold Top Brewery and Izzy Whitehead presented an inspirational and strong vision for the future of family busiensses. Tara has big plans for Twoey but also respects the heritage of the business as she stated “if I can be as good as my mum I’ll be doing brilliantly. She’s the best business woman I know.” Therein lies the difference between a corporate and a family run firm, the genuine feeling and emotion create something special.

Whilst we naturally had a strong Cumbrian representation at the event it was encouraging to see delegates from across the country attending the event.

Creating and organising an event of this scale is always challenging but all the family businesses taking part and my event partners and supporters helped make it even better than I could have hoped for. My deepest thanks to all those who attended, the speakers, Armstrong Watson, Wrapped Agency, Flock, InCumbria and Net*. I’ll be sharing more pictures and the like on here in the near future.