Family and Smaller Enterprises (FaSE)

Impact and Sustainability for Family and Smaller Enterprises via Research, Knowledge Exchange and Business Education

Future gazing is a risky business and history is littered with comic examples, ranging from those who envisaged flying cars to a world where pills have replaced food in everyday life. Nevertheless, developing good policy and business development strategies requires a degree of future gazing and finding better methodologies to support this activity is part of the research undertaken by the Family and Smaller Enterprises research team at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

We put this to the test with the South Asian community in Edinburgh recently, working with individual families and businesses to consider their aspirations for their families and their businesses and weaving this together with research that considered the business environment and cultural change. As with any community, their hopes and aspirations varied widely and when this is considered in the context of a changing culture and a developing business environment, a range of business outcomes is likely. However, by exploring the range of hope, dreams and business possibilities, we began to see distinct strands. Some of the people we spoke to, for example, hoped that a family member would take over the business. Others felt, very strongly, that they had developed the business to support the family simply because that was the best employment option open to them and that they wanted the next generation to be educated to follow a much wider range of careers. In parallel, their business environment is changing and continued innovation would in any case be required for some of the businesses to remain viable. Encouraging next generation innovation is a challenge for family businesses in every community, but by developing a futures map we begin to see where that innovation might come from and indeed what the priorities for business support and development might be.

Find out more about research and a wider picture of the futures methodology.

Courses which may be of interest:

MBA Family and Smaller Enterprises

MSc International Management and Leadership with Family and Smaller Enterprises

Claire Seaman

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