Iowa Board of Regents

UNI Requests New Center to Help Family Businesses in Iowa

Family Business Center logo.The University of Northern Iowa will request approval for its Family Business Center (FBC) at the April 6-7 meeting of the Board of Regents. If approved, the new center will offer a comprehensive suite of programs and services to Iowa's family-owned companies.

Family-owned businesses are often the economic engine for rural communities across Iowa. Research shows that only about 30% of family businesses survive to the second generation and only 12% are still viable to the third generation. The FBC will focus on consulting, peer learning, events and networking opportunities to provide tools and resources to help those family businesses find success for generations. 

“Family businesses often need help with succession issues, family governance or any number of issues that might not be present in other businesses,” said Randy Pilkington, Executive Director, Business & Community Services at UNI. “We’ve been helping family businesses for four years now, so our programming won’t change, but the center designation will help us package the programs to reach more families than before.”

If approved, the UNI FBC will provide in-person and virtual opportunities to network with business leaders, speak to specialists and share knowledge and experiences. Further offerings could include leadership development, communication and entrepreneurship with academic programs focused on developing the next generation of family leaders. 

“Several other states have Family Business Centers,” Pilkington said. “We had a number of families going out of state to other family business centers to get the help they were looking for. With this designation, those families will become more aware of the family business services right here in Iowa.”

The UNI FBC plans to collaborate with Colleges of Business and John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and UNI to serve Iowans across the state. 

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