Giving a Voice to Family Businesses

Robert Rivinius
Executive Director, Family Business Association

Taking a Stand to Protect a Driving Force in California’s Economy

It seems amazing that family businesses have never been represented at our state capitol, or any capitol, for that matter. There are several organizations that represent certain types of family businesses and those that provide services to family businesses, but did you know that no one has been representing the political interests of all family businesses, until now? The Family Business Association has been founded by 22 prominent businesses throughout the Greater Sacramento and Central Valleys, and the new organization is launching a statewide membership campaign this month.  The importance of this organization could not be timelier as California’s economy continues to struggle and many family businesses find the state a difficult place in which to do business.

Family businesses are the backbone of our economy and a pillar of our local communities. They generate 57% of the nation’s GDP, employ 63% of the workforce and create 75% of all new jobs.  California’s 1.4 million family businesses employ 7 million Californians and because of their prominent role in the state’s economy and the positive benefits they provide, policies that nurture family businesses will yield ongoing benefits to the state’s economy as a whole, but representation is needed in order to do so.

Studies show that family businesses:

• Generate higher returns for their shareholders

• Invest more in their employees’ training and benefits

• Are more likely to promote women to executive management

• Are less likely to lay off workers in tough economic times

• Engage in higher levels of philanthropic giving

• Donate more to local causes

• Have better records of environmental stewardship

While family businesses share many issues with all businesses, there are unique succession and tax issues that need addressing, and of course there is the ongoing threat of many proposals that would harm family businesses. The Family Business Association is a good idea whose time has finally come. For more information please go to www.myfba.org.

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