West Midlands' businesses are set to miss out on £2 million of Government funding to help them plan for the future, according to a leading corporate lawyer.
Paul Bennett, corporate partner at Black Country law firm George Green, says businesses need to register for help with succession planning and complete their project before March 31 this year if they want to benefit from specialist help and funding.
"Succession planning is crucial to the long and short term future viability of all businesses, but is often over-looked, until owner managers or directors contemplate retirement, or suffer long term illness or premature death, and then what could have been the implementation of a long held plan becomes a crisis," said Mr Bennett, who is based at George Green's Cradley Heath offices.
"Only 24 per cent of UK family businesses survive as such to the second generation, and more than 38,000 Midlands' businesses are at risk because they do not have succession plans in place."
The region's Business Links have recognised the importance of the issue and secured cash from Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund to encourage businesses to develop succession strategies, but the money for intensive assistance runs out at the end of March.
So, says Mr Bennett, they should grasp the nettle now.
"The more a business needs help, the more funding is available," said Mr Bennett. "Expert guidance is provided by a team of dedicated business advisors.
"Businesses are given an initial free consultation on identifying succession problems and solutions, and those most at risk may be offered intensive support."
To highlight the matter Black Country Chamber and Business Link, along with George Green, Mazars and RBS/Natwest Group are holding a breakfast seminar on February 28 at the National Metalforming Centre in West Bromwich.