Laura Millar, Head Communication & Marketing for Harrison & Hetherington, has been named as one of the judges for the Agribusiness Category of the North West Family Business Awards (NWFBA). Organised by The Family Business Network these awards provide a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of family businesses across Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and Merseyside.
The North West Family Business Awards are designed to publicise and celebrate this contribution. With 14 different categories from Haulage and Logistics to Tourism, there is an opportunity for companies from all sectors, shapes and sizes to apply. Nominations and applications for NWFBA are open now and it is completely free to enter, with entries closing on 21st February. The finalists will be announced on the 8th March, and the winners on Friday 13th May at an awards ceremony to be held at the Rum Warehouse, Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.
The farming sector in the UK is largely made up of sole traders or family partnerships with roughly 90% of all farms falling into this category. From a family farming business herself, and with her time at Harrison & Hetherington, Laura will bring a great deal of expertise to the panel. She works at their main livestock centre, Borderway Auction Mart, in Carlisle, one of the largest mart sites in the UK.
“I am thrilled to have been invited to be part of this important awards initiative which celebrates family businesses”, exclaimed Laura, “in judging the Agri Business Category I am especially looking forward to meeting what I know will be a diverse and inspiration line up of progressive family farming enterprises. The agricultural industry contributes over £24 billion to the UK economy, and I am delighted it is receiving recognition. I am sure it will be a hard task to choose the finalists, as I know there are a lot of family farms doing some amazing work out there.”
At the heart of many farms lie the families behind them who, through generations, have developed the business to help secure its place in years to come. I will be looking for businesses that clearly demonstrate a shared vision of their future direction and where responsibilities for the different core tasks are clearly understood. With the future viability of family farms in the UK a constant challenge, diversifying and pro-active succession-planning is essential to ensure success for future generations.”
Family businesses are often undervalued in the mind of the public, but they certainly shouldn’t be. According to an Oxford Economics report, in 2018 there were some 5.1 million family-owned businesses in the UK, employing 14.2 million people. The sector earned more than £1.9 trillion in revenue and contributed £196 billion in tax receipts, around one quarter of the UK Government’s total revenue. Although many have been badly hit in the pandemic, they still contribute a great deal to the UK economy.
Sue Howorth, Co-Founder and Director of The Family Business Network commented “We are delighted to welcome H&H Group as supporters of this exciting event. We launched The Family Business Awards back in 2017 in Cumbria and in 2020 bought the five counties of the North West together to hold the inaugural North West Family Business awards, they are such a rewarding experience discovering the incredible work done by so many family businesses in the North West and it’s a real celebration of the family business community.
“Laura is from a family farming business herself, so her input will be invaluable within this category. During the judging process she will have the opportunity to meet with other business leaders from other industry sectors to share their experiences and knowledge. She will also have the opportunity to visit the shortlisted finalists and experience their family farming enterprises first-hand.”
H&H Groups farmstock business is highly respected by pedigree and commercial farmers both nationally and internationally and they are also the appointed auctioneers for the UK’s major beef, dairy, and sheep breed societies. In addition to livestock trading, H&H Group has four other businesses under its umbrella, including auction rooms, insurance brokers, estate agencies and a digital marketing agency.