The country’s medium-sized enterprises, often family owned, generate a quarter of private sector GDP, despite making up just 2% of British companies. British family businesses are more domestically focused than their global counterparts, with exports accounting for just 16% of their revenues, compared to 25% internationally, according to the PwC Family Business Survey. However these family businesses are aiming to expand aggressively in Europe and China in the next five years.
The major players among the British Family businesses include Wittington Investments, the holding company owned by the Weston family, established in 1941 with revenues in excess of $19bn; the Betfred group owned by the Done family, established in 1967 with revenues in excess of $12bn; Stemcor Holdings owned by the Oppenheimer family, established in 1951 with revenues in excess of $8bn; O’Rourke Investments Holdings owned by the O’Rourke family, established in 1951 with revenues in excess of $7bn. Family business account for much of the wealth created in Britain. Grosvenor Group, for example, dates back to 1677, and is today headed by the Duke of Westminster – one of the UK’s wealthiest individuals. Similarly Cadogan Estates has a property portfolio worth £5.2 billion ($7.9 billion).
Now in its 50th year, the annual Queen’s Awards recognize British firms that have excelled in exporting, social or environmental good works, or innovation. This year, seven businesses received awards for sustainable development, 92 for innovation and 150 for international trade. Those honored in the list, are able to use the Queen’s Awards emblem for five years, a marker that they are ‘the best of British businesses’.