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“Family businesses drive the economy.” #SFSBW2015 Interview: USF Gellert Family Business Resource Center

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Monika Hudson, Assistant Professor and Director of the University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Resource Center.

Tell us about your organization in one sentence.

We provide family-owned businesses with access to networking, create an open exchange of strategic and practical family business information and advance the field of family business research, education, and scholarship.

What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace?

The University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Resource Center annually recognizes two family-owned businesses, providing them with support and resources to strengthen various aspects of their operations. The Center then formally promotes these businesses throughout the Bay Area. The intent is to provide these and other family businesses with a wider media base as well as targeted technical assistance designed to build upon their existing company assets.

What is your organization doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners who are starting out today? What are you doing to bridge the gap between old and new businesses?

The Gellert Family Business Resource Center promotes successful next generation leadership. The Center provides students with the opportunity to apply related coursework within family
businesses. The University of San Francisco ensures that family business coursework is offered throughout the school year through various business courses.

Gellert Awardees

Please describe one of your organization’s innovations. How has this enhanced way you reach and serve your clients or members?

The Center conducts family business research, assessing how School of Management faculty can better aid in the success of these types of businesses. The research findings aid in identifying and improving potential areas for growth.

The Center also provides informational, referral and direct services to family-owned businesses including legal and language support in order to assure future success.
Through luncheons, dinners and related events, the Center looks to connect family-owned businesses with one another and create a knowledge base that will aid in enhancing the “family side” of business.

Towards that end, the Gellert Center and its students are completing research in support of the March 19th adopted “”legacy”” business legislation.” Students are creating case studies, investigating and documenting trends associated with commercial displacement and identifying incentives that retail businesses and landlords might consider to assist in the retention of legacy businesses.

What is one lesson you would like to share with small business owners—especially those who are struggling to change the way they do business in the current climate?

There are a range of support organizations in San Francisco including business incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and formal classes that can provide the technical assistance that small business owners may require.

“Creative destruction” is more than ever a watch-word today and small business owners want to leverage all available resources to supplement the innovations they originally brought to the marketplace.

What is the most important belief or principle that guides your work and the trajectory of your organization?

Family businesses are the economic drivers of the US economy. Towards that end, the Gellert Center supports the enterprise, the family and the ownership processes that comprise family businesses.

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