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University of Nebraska–Lincoln




In Nebraska, family businesses play a significant role in our economy. The Nebraska Family Business Initiative, supported by the Abel Family, promotes and impacts all types of family business through classes, programs, events and research.

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 percent 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.

The Nebraska Family Business Initiative 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 supported through this initiative 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

Initiative Goals

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 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

Improve Research Knowledge

As one of the initiative’s objectives, the Center for Entrepreneurship produces research to positively impact and inform family businesses. The center will collect both quantitative and qualitative/ethnographic data to be analyzed in expert reports, case studies and peer-reviewed academic papers. If you’d like to be included in our research or featured as a case study, please contact us.


Help You Build Your Business

The center hosts a number of events and offers one-on-one coaching to help you build successful ventures.

Event Calendar


Center for Entrepreneurship
HLH 315