University of San Diego’s Free Enterprise Institute Announces New Family Business Initiative

University of San Diego’s Free Enterprise Institute Announces New Family Business Initiative

Graduate celebrates with family

In an effort to support the entrepreneurial spirit and family values of USD students, alumni, friends and family, the University of San Diego’s Free Enterprise Institute (FEI) is exploring a family business initiative at the Knauss School of Business. The initiative aims to provide both learning opportunities and guidance to existing and hopeful family businesses. Innovation will be a top focus of the new program, leveraging USD’s substantial capabilities in innovation commercialization through the Brink SBDC and the San Diego Angel Conference.

Ensuring Family Businesses Stay Ahead of the Curve

The USD Family Business Initiative provides pragmatic solutions for family businesses including counseling and education on executing new and expanding product lines, integration of new technologies, approaches to operations, acquiring funding and financial planning. Succession planning, classes, mentoring and networking for family businesses will regularly be offered. These services are open to all family businesses, regardless of size, sector or stage of development. The initiative also welcomes non-family businesses that are interested in learning from and collaborating with family businesses.

Tapping into USD's Network and Expertise

“USD is uniquely positioned to offer family business programming and resources to the community due to our high number of students who come from successful family businesses, and the university’s success with community-facing programs for innovation and entrepreneurship," says Free Enterprise Institute Executive Director Mysty Rusk.

The family business initiative operates within the university’s Free Enterprise Institute at the Knauss School of Business, which also currently houses San Diego Angel ConferenceBrink SBDC and Catalyzer. Co-chairs of the USD Family Business Initiative are USD alumni Chris Yount ’99 (BA) and Family Business Consulting Group’s Dr. Jeremy Lurey.

Chris Yount is a family business expert, battle-tested CEO and advisor with deep experience in buy/sell-side M&A, brand marketing, manufacturing/distribution efficiency, corporate turnaround, general management and strategy.

Yount says, "Family businesses face the intricacies and challenges of any business, but the family business also has to manage complexities associated with familial relationships, in addition to strategic and leadership issues."

Dr. Lurey has 25 years of progressive consulting experience, working with high-wealth families to mid-market companies to Fortune 500 corporations to produce better results. He holds a PhD in Organizational Psychology and frequently presents to audiences on organization development, change management, succession planning and family business.

Dr. Lurey adds, "As family businesses grow, they must focus on succession planning that includes providing for a larger number of people each generation, and a host of legal and tax consequences."

Family Philanthropy and Foundations

The USD Family Business Initiative will feature an educational event on Family Philanthropy and Foundations on Tuesday, April 9, from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at USD. The event is ideal for family-owned businesses interested in having a meaningful impact in their community through philanthropy and will feature speakers, panels and round tables. Reservations required here.

Bringing Entrepreneurs and Investors Together

On May 9 the Free Enterprise Institute and partnering investors will be holding the annual San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC) from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at USD.

The San Diego Angel Conference has effectively changed the conversation between investors and entrepreneurs, fostering networking and partnership between promising startups and angel investors that participate in the Fund. During SDAC Angels review the deals and work together to choose one company that will receive an angel investment. It’s part of our commitment to activate angel investors while providing training, growth and funding in the innovation ecosystem. Tickets can be purchased here.


Jessica Applonie
(619) 260-4600