LMU Launches New Program to Support Family Businesses

Did you know that family businesses account for 64% of U.S. GDP and generate 62% of employment? That’s quite an impact. Yet while family businesses are essential for economic growth and job creation, they also experience significant challenges, such as market forces, internal discord and, yep, even global pandemics.

Recognizing how vital family businesses are to the success of our global economy, the LMU Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship has launched a Family Business Program to help family enterprises innovate and thrive, thereby strengthening families, businesses and communities.

To bring this new program to fruition, LMU partnered with Business Consulting Resources (BCR), a Honolulu family-owned business that has been advising entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes for more than 40 years. In fact, BCR has close ties to LMU; the daughter of its founders is a 2020 graduate.

“We’ve wanted to start a family business program for a long time, and finally got the opportunity to do it with the encouragement and help of our partner BCR,” said David Choi, director of the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship.

“We are delighted to partner with LMU to help family businesses achieve their goals and dreams,” added Kenneth M. Gilbert, president of Business Consulting Resources. “There is no greater satisfaction for us than helping a family business thrive and truly reach their potential. The impact of this work is amazing for the family and the communities that they touch.”

In only a few short months, the LMU Family Business Program has already welcomed over 25 new members, including Gaviña Coffee, AGS Security, Tierra West Advisors, San Antonio Winery and Kirk Kara.

“We welcome family businesses of any size,” said Choi. “The kinds of people we’re looking to join are those who are willing to share and be supportive of the success of other members.”

Family business programs associated with universities are not a new phenomenon; what’s interesting is that most of these programs focus almost exclusively on governance and succession issues, which can make the sessions a little dry. LMU is hoping to change that with an added focus on entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Our intention is to offer tangible resources and educational opportunities that empower family enterprises to grow, innovate and achieve multigenerational success,” said Choi. “The overall goal is to expand their entrepreneurial mindset and create a collaborative space for family enterprises to connect and share best practices to strengthen the family and business.”

The program is off to a fast start and has already organized and hosted a number of events and programs, including a monthly series of family stories and several lectures. Plans are also in the works to offer internships, projects and networking opportunities for students.

In fall 2021, the LMU Family Business Program will host its first annual conference with a keynote address by Andrew Cherng, founder and chairman of Panda Express. More details about the conference will be announced in the coming months.

For family businesses interested in joining the program, LMU is holding information sessions every Thursday at 3 p.m. PT. To register for an information session or learn more about the LMU Family Business Program, email David.Choi@lmu.edu.

To apply for membership to the LMU Family Business Program, please complete this form.