The Niagara University Family Business Center was established in 2003. The center is dedicated to serving the needs of family and privately owned businesses in Western New York and Southern Ontario through the exchange of knowledge. The center's activities are member-driven and the center is run for and by its business members.
The center's mission is to develop and exchange relevant information on family business issues in order to strengthen the stability and long-term viability of family and privately owned businesses through education, research and service. A sampling of the center’s activities include:
- Speakers series and seminars on family business issues.
- Maintaining a library of family business materials including current research on family business.
- Consulting support for local family-owned businesses.
- Support for faculty and student research on family business issues.
- Development of curriculum to enhance student learning in the areas of entrepreneurship and family-owned business issues.
More than 90 percent of all American businesses are owned and operated by families. Based on recent studies, only one-third of family owned businesses will survive to the next generation and only 10 percent will survive transfer to a second generation.
The average family business was founded shortly after World War II, and more than 70 percent are still controlled by the founders or the second generation. It is expected that nearly 40 percent of the current leadership of family-owned businesses will change hands in the next five years; however,
- only 37 percent of those businesses have a written strategic plan, and
- 42 percent have not yet determined their successor.
Niagara University's College of Business Administration joins a network of over 60 colleges and universities who have established a family business center to assist businesses in their geographic area.
(Data obtained from the American Family Business Survey released Jan. 23, 2003. The nationwide study of family owned businesses was funded with support from Mass Mutual and The Raymond Family Business Institute at Alfred University.)