DCU National Centre for Family Business Celebrates 10 Years

DCU National Centre for Family Business (NCFB) has spent 10 years at the forefront of family business research in Ireland, developing vital research insights with support from philanthropic partners, including long-standing supporter AIB. A new 10 year impact report highlighting the Centre’s research was launched at a breakfast event on DCU’s Glasnevin campus on Thursday 23rd November.

Since its foundation in 2013, the NCFB has published almost 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, practitioner reports, and books on family business matters. In addition to sharing key insights from a decade of expertise, the Centre’s new report sets out ambitious research plans for the future, focusing on areas of key importance to family businesses, such as succession intentions, sustainability, digitalisation and wellbeing.

64% of all businesses in Ireland can be classified as a family business, employing some 938,000 people. Over the last 10 years, the NCFB has played a key role in supporting these businesses by providing practical business insights, informed by shared best practice and cutting-edge research. The Centre has also educated over 5,600 undergraduate students through DCU Business School’s Learning Innovation for Life (LIFE) and New Enterprise Development (NED) programmes, and has shared research insights through family business Executive Education programmes, webinars, podcasts, and eight annual conferences with over 3,000 attendees.

The new report, titled “10 Years at the Forefront of Family Business Research in Ireland”, reflects the development and impact of the NCFB, which has become recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence in research, education and engagement with family business.

Dr Eric Clinton, Director of the NCFB said:

“Family businesses face distinct internal challenges to their success and longevity when family and work dynamics combine. Given the particular challenges faced by family firms, it will be even more important to provide research and evidence-based advice to family businesses on these topics.

“10 years ago, we founded a centre for family business research in Ireland, and it is wonderful to have an opportunity to reflect on our success in this 10 year anniversary report. Our vision then is a reality now: the NCFB is achieving national and international recognition for excellence in research, education and engagement.”


Speaking at the launch of the impact report, Prof Dáire Keogh, President of Dublin City University said:

“Dublin City University and Irish Family Businesses are kindred spirits. Our shared mission to put enterprise at the heart of what we value has helped us adapt, survive and even thrive when faced with stark realities, especially in this past decade.

“The Centre has succeeded in producing world-class family-business research both at home and internationally. Having introduced and attended the NCFB’s Annual Conference, I have experienced firsthand the eagerness and enthusiasm for insights relevant to the sector. The progress set out in this 10 year anniversary report is impressive in both its scale and impact.”


Prof Dominic Elliott, Dean of DCU Business School commented:

“Our work at the DCU Business School with the small and medium-sized business community is among the most rewarding things that my colleagues, students and I do. Many teaching and learning programmes at DCU, including DCU Executive Education programmes, have benefited from the NCFB’s expertise since its foundation. I look forward to learning more about what they plan for future generations of students, and the curriculum, and wish them all the best for the next 10 years.”


John Brennan, Head of Retail SME AIB Retail said:

“Our long-standing sponsorship of DCU NCFB since 2014 aligns with our position as supporters of local small businesses, providing us with an excellent opportunity to increase our level of engagement with an important grouping of SMEs. It also allows us to understand family businesses and the unique challenges that they may face. We continue to work with DCU to provide a platform to support the professionalisation and growth of family businesses in Ireland as well as educating the current and next generations about the challenges to and opportunities for the family business owner.”


The full report, “10 Years at the Forefront of Family Business Research in Ireland”, is available online now.

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