AIB - Supporting Irish Family Businesses

Jim O’Keefe is Managing Director of Retail Banking at AIB, a longstanding partner in our mission to transform lives and societies. In this piece, Jim explains why AIB is proud to support DCU’s National Centre for Family Business.
Tell us about AIB’s partnership with DCU.

AIB is a longstanding partner of DCU’s National Centre for Family Business (DCU NCFB) since 2015. Our support has enabled DCU to develop research across key societal challenges such as Brexit, Family Business and Sustainability, alongside supporting equal access programmes to higher education for students.

What inspires AIB to support the National Centre for Family Business?

The DCU NCFB provides a platform to enhance the competitiveness of Irish family firms, to offer insights into international best practice of family firm management and, ultimately, to help shape future policy in relation to this thriving sector. DCU’s ethos is in keeping with AIB’s own commitment to family businesses and the communities in which they operate across the country.

“Family businesses are part of the fabric of communities in every town, county and city in Ireland and are a key driver of employment in local economies. As the leading business bank in Ireland, we recognise the role universities play in developing the knowledge and skills that these family businesses need if they are to continue to develop and grow.  Our partnership with DCU NCFB is aligned with our goal of supporting family businesses in communities across Ireland.”

The NCFB works to translate research into best practice insights that empower family firms to embrace new challenges. How does this align with AIB’s own values as a company?

We are committed to backing our customers, and the DCU NCFB is a perfect example of how research, engagement and information can aid Irish businesses, policy makers and society. As a partner to DCU NCFB, AIB participates in research and we use the findings to develop products and services which support family businesses.

We also work closely with the NCFB to assist with the professionalisation and growth of family businesses in Ireland. We provide support for education and development for the current and next generation of family business leaders on issues such as succession planning, next-generation involvement, family and business protection and continuity planning through educational and networking engagements.

Family firms lie at the heart of communities across Ireland. How do you see these businesses growing into the future?

At AIB, sustaining family businesses in communities across the country is a key priority. Every family business is on a journey from one generation to the next, and it is critical to consider the impact of that business on the fragile planet on which we all depend for our livelihoods. Sustainability presents a significant opportunity for Irish businesses, and AIB plays an important role in supporting communities and businesses as they transition to a low carbon economy. We have a programme of initiatives specifically designed to help companies grow and develop their operations in a sustainable manner, as sustainable family businesses are a key driver of future growth.

DCU’s mission is to transform lives and societies. Is this something that AIB sees as a similarity between the two organisations?

Through AIB’s work with DCU, we are committed to finding real and meaningful solutions to the challenges and opportunities that face family businesses today and into the future. We recognise the importance of innovative research in helping businesses grow their operations and maximise their potential and this is something that aligns with our purpose to back our customers to achieve their dreams and ambitions.

What have been the benefits of your partnership with the University?

DCU NCFB has created a support and information network that will enable family businesses across Ireland to make informed decisions when managing their business in the future. This partnership provides AIB with an opportunity to hear directly from businesses on the challenges they face and how AIB can support them in addressing those challenges. AIB is committed to building long-term resilience and sustainability within the economy and society, and its partnership with DCU aligns with this core objective.

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