Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

New research reveals up to £1.23 billion tax gain by increasing the number of successfully transferred SMEs and Family Businesses in Scotland

Research demonstrates how SMEs and Family Businesses can significantly grow the Scottish economy. It also suggests that governments across Europe need to recognise the importance of providing support for business transfers to help sustain existing businesses.

Scotland's Futures Forum, with its strategic partner the Goodison Group in Scotland, led a successful co-ordinated stakeholder response to the issue from a Scottish perspective. Stakeholders include Scottish Enterprise, HIE, Glasgow City Council, IOD Scotland, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Scottish Family Business Association and academia.

Over 100 representatives from SMEs and family business, government agencies, education and professional advisers from around Scotland gathered at two landmark conferences held in Edinburgh and Inverness to discuss what the research means for Scotland.

David C Watt, GGIS Director and Executive Director for the IOD in Scotland, said, 'There is a fantastic opportunity here. The results of the research project will be used to engage with Scotland’s SME and family business policy makers and practitioners. Scotland has the potential to be a world leader in this field.'

Two short films, which have been produced by GGiS and Scotland’s Futures Forum as part of the project, can be viewed online at and  The films showcase the two landmark conferences that were held in Edinburgh and inverness earlier this year.  The conferences addressed the challenges faced by SMEs and family businesses and put forward recommendations from delegates as to how this sector could be better supported. 

The full report (926KB pdf) is now available.

The stakeholder group has achieved much, including improved co-ordination and synergies. As a result of the shared dialogue a range of enhanced data collection methods have been identified to improve measurement and monitoring of this sector. Scottish Enterprise has established a virtual ‘Succession Team’ and is seeking to raise business succession as a priority issue for businesses. A Succession Planning Programme has been developed with a full range of options, including transitioning within the family, trade sale, Management Buy Out, Employee Buy Out and flotation. Furthermore, Economic Development Services, Glasgow City Council will pilot additional initiatives that provide greater support to businesses.