Providing opportunities to help family-owned businesses grow and thrive is the goal of the recently launched Family Enterprise Institute of South Carolina (FEISC), an initiative launched at Anderson University that will include educational, networking, research and support programs for owners and employees.
FEISC is a strategic initiative of Steve Nail, dean of the Anderson University College of Business, and its first director, Dr. Brad Bechtold. Family-owned businesses are the backbone of the American economy; 90 percent of American businesses, and 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies, are family-controlled, Dr. Bechtold said.
“These enterprises represent the full spectrum of American companies, from small business to major corporations,” he said. “Family-owned enterprise accounts for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 62 percent of the country's employment and account for 78 percent of all new job creation.”
A family owned enterprise is a commercial organization in which decision-making is influenced by multiple generations of a family, related by blood or marriage or adoption, who has both the ability to influence the vision of the business and the willingness to use this ability to pursue distinctive goals.
“Recent research has shown that continued family control can be efficient, since families have a significant, positive economic and community impact because of their ability to apply a long-term perspective allowing for unique strategic positioning, have fewer human resources problems but higher firm values and drive new entrepreneurial activity,” said Dean Nail.
Dr. Bechtold said an estimated 40 percent of family business owners expect to retire within the next five years, creating a significant transition of ownership in the United States. However, fewer than half of those have selected a successor. Furthermore, though nearly 70 percent of family businesses would like to pass their business on to the next generation, but only 30 percent will actually be successful at transitioning to the next generation, he said.
Anderson University launched FEISC to help family enterprises navigate these realities.
“Our mission is to address the needs of family enterprises in South Carolina by providing research, educational, networking and support resources to those involved in or serving family businesses across South Carolina,” Dr. Bechtold said.