UNI Family Business Center assists Iowa's family businesses

The University of Northern Iowa Family Business Center (FBC) has officially opened its doors. On Tuesday, July 12, the Center celebrated with an open house at their location within the Business and Community Services building on the UNI campus.

Family businesses are widely recognized as a powerful driver of economic growth, generating more than 64% of revenue in the U.S. and 78% of all new private sector jobs, and often providing the economic engine for rural communities across Iowa. Since the UNI program launched a pilot series in 2018, it has offered peer group services, family networking events, in-person and virtual expert panels designed specifically for family firms, and Iowa's first Family Business Conference.

UNI Family Business Center

"Family-owned businesses are essential to Iowa's economy, and a lot of times they don't know that they're not the only businesses struggling with obstacles that are unique to family businesses," said Dan Beenken, Director of the FBC. "We serve as the connector between families and the resources they need to be successful, and we are grateful that the Iowa Board of Regents has granted us Center status so that we can continue this mission."

Research shows that only about 30% of family businesses survive to the second generation and only 12% are still viable to the third generation. In addition to succession planning, these organizations face unique challenges and opportunities like next generation development, governance and other issues impacting the longevity of the firm.

In the last year, the FBC has developed a Family Business Membership that unlocks the full suite of events and services for free or at a discounted rate, including its annual conference, a tour and panel at a family business, the bimonthly Virtual Breakfast Series, a directory and online forums to interact with other family businesses.

In collaboration with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, the FBC will now leverage its standing and maximize its economic impact across the state — a feat that wouldn't be possible without the support of UNI, the Board of Regents, legislators, service providers and, of course, family businesses.
Find more information about the FBC at unifamilybusinesscenter.com.