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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Nebraska Family Business

Nebraska Family Business

Nebraska Family Business

Supporting and Promoting Family Businesses

In Nebraska, family businesses play a significant role in our economy. Thanks to the Abel family, the Center for Entrepreneurship offers education and events dedicated specifically to family business to support students preparing to enter or contribute to family business after college.

Strong Tradition of Family Businesses in Nebraska

Family businesses serve as a vital engine of economic growth and a significant segment of the Nebraskan, U.S. and global economy. Worldwide, 80% of firms are classified as family businesses. Recent studies show family enterprises are, on average, more profitable, more socially responsible, and survive longer than non-family businesses. However, managing a family firm can be particularly challenging. Owners and managers often need education, advice and support to deal with issues unique to family enterprises, such as succession and governance. Yet, family firms are often overlooked in business school curricula.

Nebraska Family Business aims to develop educational resources to support students, faculty, alumni and other stakeholder groups who are members of family businesses (or will be), or who have an interest in promoting and advising family firms (e.g., consultants, lawyers, investors, government). Classes, programs and events promote family businesses and their extraordinary contribution to the economy of Nebraska and beyond. Our region's long tradition of thriving family farm enterprises is just one part of that contribution.

Empowering the Next Generation of Family Businesses

"We’re building a network for those who are either building a family business themselves or planning on running their family business. This network will give them a chance to work with peers who face similar issues and opportunities."

Dr. Sam Nelson
Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Associate Professor of Practice in Management

Learning about Family Businesses through Experiential Learning

"I am a proud third generation in my family’s business. While I wish I took a course like this during college, I now can support students by directly relating to them. In class, students explore family business experientially by diving into their own family’s business, discussing case studies and becoming more aware of their own role within the family and future.”

Dr. Lindsay Thomsen
Assistant Professor of Practice in Management and Director of Business Development for the Center for Entrepreneurship

Student Feedback

“The first time that I ever found out about this class was the fall of my freshman year. I couldn’t believe they had a class I could take as an elective for my major that would help me in my career, as someone who plans to work with my family for most of my life. I had some pretty grand expectations as a naïve 19-year-old for what the class would entail, and be like—this class has been everything that I hoped it would be. I’ve learned so much about resolving conflict, expanding your family business and how to plan for the succession of the family business. This class made me think about my family's business in ways I never had before.”


Integrate Study of Family Business Into Curriculum

Students can enroll in Family Business (ENTR 322) to explore the opportunities and challenges distinctive to businesses owned and operated by members of a family. You will sharpen your ability as a young manager to recognize and respond to the specificities of the family business. You will also discuss issues and best practices on challenges these businesses may face including: shared governance, leadership development, succession and family business tensions.

Enroll in MyRED


Center for Entrepreneurship
HLH 315