Koch Center for Family Business
The Family Business Program aims to engage the next generation of family business leaders and connect them to resources they need to succeed.
By some estimates, family businesses contribute more than $68 trillion to global GDP. They’re engines that drive 64 percent of the US economy, yet they have notoriously poor records of surviving past the second generations of family ownership and management.
The reach of family businesses into the global economy is often underestimated. Nearly 35 percent of publicly held companies in the United States are family enterprises, including some of the nation’s largest companies, like Walmart, Ford Motor Company, The Campbell Soup Company, and S.C. Johnson.
Most business leaders will eventually find themselves across the table from someone working for a family business—as a business partner, employer, supplier, client, or even an acquisition target. Often, family enterprises are challenged by distinctive governance structures, opaque lines of authority, unique wealth management demands, and business motivations that depart from mere profit-and-loss calculations.
Goals of the Family Business Program
With the support of a four-year, $1.09-million gift from Roger and Fran Koch and Paul and Elke Koch, Olin Business School’s Olin Family Business Program aims to educate future business leaders on unique family business issues while providing resources for family enterprises as they grapple with these challenges.
Focusing on how family businesses develop a finance strategy, Olin’s approach delves into the governance of family enterprises, how they’re structured, and why some are more successful than others. Through programming, scholarship, and student-led consulting projects, the program strives to:
- Increase the academic knowledge of family businesses through research into their unique natures
- Educate students through courses that address the opportunities of family businesses
- Support family enterprises seeking solutions to their business challenges through experiential learning projects
- Engage the off-campus family business community through special events, symposiums, and seminars
About the Koch Family
The Family Business Program was launched in April 2016, thanks to a four-year, $1.09 million gift from Roger and Fran Koch and Paul and Elke Koch. Paul A. Koch (BSBA ’61, JD ’64, MBA ’68) and Roger L. Koch (BSBA ’64, MBA ’66) are co-chairmen of the board, and the third generation in leadership at Koch Development Co., a St. Louis-based developer and manager of commercial real estate and owner/operator of select entertainment attractions.
As Paul Koch said, “Very few family businesses survive beyond the third generation, and that is a waste of resources for our economy.” In fact, studies have shown that only about 12 percent of family businesses advance beyond that threshold. The Koch Family’s support of the Olin Family Business Program is aimed at helping students and family business leaders to stem that waste.