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Letter from the Executive Director

Thank you for visiting our website for The Family Enterprise Institute of South Carolina (FEISC); the only dedicated resource for family enterprises in South Carolina located in an institution of higher education.

Family-owned enterprise is generally defined as “any business in which two or more family members are involved and the majority of ownership lies within the family.”

Beginning hundreds of years ago with family farms and small shops, family-owned enterprises have always been essential to South Carolina. While it is exciting that some of the largest and longest-running family-owned enterprises were founded in this state, the role of small to mid-size firms engaging in first, second and third generation leadership is essential to our economy.

In South Carolina, nearly 40% of payroll dollars and almost 45% of all jobs are generated by firms with fewer than 500 employees. Research tells us that a large majority of those firms – as many as 90% are family owned or family controlled. Without successful, well-run, sustainable family enterprises, South Carolina’s economy would falter.

Yet, despite their tremendous value to South Carolina, and the United States overall, Family enterprises face an uphill challenge. Regardless of the size of the operation, from mom and pop corner grocery store to the largest of family enterprises such as Wal-Mart or Levi Strauss, the very essence of the definition, “family” is what makes running a family enterprise more complicated and challenging.

A family in business together is unlike all other forms of business ownership. Because family and business needs and goals often overlap, and sometimes compete, the remarkable strengths and advantages of the family business can – without support — devolve into the destruction of one or the other or both. There is little surprise that nearly every country has a saying that is similar to “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations,” capturing the idea that wealth can be built and disappear quickly in family enterprise.

The Family Enterprise Institute of South Carolina provides support to help leaders transform family enterprises struggling with destructive negative cycles into vibrant, thriving organizations experiencing healthy growth cycles instead. And for families already experiencing that success, the Institute offers leading edge research and resources to maintain that trajectory. Through specialized education, networking, access to industry experts and research-based best practices as well as mutually supportive peer affinity groups, your enterprise and your family will flourish.

Along with AU College of Business faculty and staff we are building a strong foundation of Family Enterprise Members, Sponsors, Affiliate Partners, Legacy Leaders and Advisors that actively support the Vision and Mission of the FEISC through their participation and leadership.

The success of your family and your family enterprise is our reason for existence. How can we help you?

Please take a look at our current and future offerings, then give me a call, send an email or apply for membership. We are eager to meet you, prepared to serve you, and ready to get started.


Brad Bechtold, Ed.D.
Executive Director
The Family Enterprise Institute of South Carolina
Anderson University