Provides forum for addressing issues unique to family businesses

Two generations of family ownership at Acme Wire Products in Mystic: (L-R) Michael Planeta, VP manufacturing; Edward Planeta, Sr., founder; Mary Planeta Fitzgerald, president; Edward Planeta, Jr., VP sales.

CBIA has launched a program designed to support and grow the state's family-owned businesses. The new CBIA Family Business Program, sponsored by First Niagara Bank, J.H. Cohn LLP, and Reid and Riege PC, offers business leaders a forum for discussing and solving problems such as succession planning, legislative challenges, ethics, and more.

"Thousands of businesses in Connecticut are family-run," says CBIA economist Peter Gioia. "In reality, we've been consistently serving CBIA members that are family-owned on a wide range of traditional business issues, but not necessarily with a focus on the unique elements that family ownership and/or management add to the equation. This new program will allow us to do just that."

Although family-run businesses account for 50% of U.S. gross domestic product and generate 60% of the country's jobs, problems related to family dynamics mean just 30% of family-owned firms survive into a second generation.

Forums, Networking, and More

"The program will provide Connecticut-based family businesses with the opportunity to brainstorm, network, and discuss both business and family issues with others who have 'walked the walk' of working in a family business," says Mary Fitzgerald, president of Acme Wire Products Co., Inc., in Mystic. "There are times when getting an outside perspective from someone involved in a similar dynamic can offer you a fresh insight that you might not have realized in your day-to-day family or business dealings. That applies to everyone, whether they are first-generation founders or second- or third-generation family members."

The program will offer bimonthly e-newsletters, webinars, and referrals to experts for topic-specific advice. It will also include three to four forums a year, each held in Hartford County, Fairfield County, and New London County to ensure that family business leaders throughout the state have an opportunity to attend. Topics include governance, leadership, building and preserving wealth, banking strategies, succession planning, legislative issues affecting family businesses, compensation strategies, and evaluating performance.

For more information about the CBIA Family Business Program, contact Mark Soycher at 860.244.1138 or

Register here for the Sept. 19 program, "Preparing Your Family Business for the Upsurge in U.S. Industry," or contact Lise Cliche at 860.244.1977 or