Dr Eric Clinton speaking at the NCFB 10 Year event

DCU National Centre for Family Business marks 10 years

Key research-led insights by DCU National Centre for Family Business (NCFB) highlighted in 10 year impact report, launched at breakfast event on the Glasnevin campus.

Unlearning what you do best, the importance of innovation for family businesses, how family business practices can change based on knowledge of historical failures and how those family businesses that receive more trade credit are significantly more likely to survive are among the key research-led insights and takeaways from the DCU NCFB.

Looking to the future, the DCU NCFB 10 year impact report has also identified key areas of importance to family businesses in the next 5 years, including succession intentions, sustainability focus, digitalisation and well-being.

64% of all businesses in Ireland can be classified as a “family business”, employing some 938,000 people. Global trends inform that almost 30% of founder, 1st generation family businesses grow to 2nd generation, reducing to 12% from 2nd to 3rd generation while 4% succeed from 3rd to 4th generation and onwards.


The NCFB, whose 10 year impact report is launched today (Thursday 23 November), has published almost 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, practitioner reports and books in that period.

The NCFB has educated over 5,600 undergraduate students on our Learning Innovation for Life (LIFE) & New Enterprise Development (NED) programmes and have delivered family business Executive Education programmes, webinars & podcasts; hosting 8 Annual conferences with 3,000+ attendees.

The report reflects the growth of the NCFB, which has become recognised nationally and internationally, as a place of excellence in research, education and critical engagement with family businesses and their owners.

Dr Eric Clinton speaking at the NCFB 10 Year event

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.”

DCU President ProF Daire Keogh speaking at the NCFB 10 Year event

Speaking at the launch of the impact report, Prof Daire 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 Elliot speaking at the NCFB 10 Year event

Prof Dominic Elliott, Dean of DCU Business School said

“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.”

AIB's John Brennan speaking at the NCFB 10 Year event

John Brennan, Head of Retail SME AIB Retail said

"Our longstanding sponsorship with 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', can be read on the DCU National Centre for Family Business website here.