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Purdue Initiative for Family Firms Helps Build Stronger Family Businesses


Family firms comprise 80-90% of all business enterprises and range from mom-and-pop stores to corporate giants. Family businesses are an important part of the U.S. economy too. In fact, 77% of new U.S. businesses started as family businesses. The majority of farm and agriculture businesses are family controlled, from Cargill to the smallest family farm. The significance of family businesses to the U.S. economy underscores the importance of the success and continuity of family businesses.

The Purdue Initiative for Family Firms (PIFF) provides multi-generational family businesses in Indiana and across the country with research-based business management resources aimed at improving personal leadership performance and driving operational growth. The goal is to prepare family business owners, shareholders and stakeholders (including non-owner spouses and future owners) for effective stewardship of their family enterprises.

Almost every producer organization in Indiana has sought Purdue assistance in providing educational programming for family businesses. These organizations range from the Indiana Meat Packers and Processors Association to the Indiana Wine Council to the Green Industry. The Purdue Initiative for Family Firms’ (PIFF) ambition is to better and more proactively serve the needs among key stakeholders.


Maria Marshall is the director of PIFF and professor of Agricultural Economics. She can be reached at

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