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Florida Universities Prepare Students to Take Over the Family Business


Here in Florida, family business can be big business.

Almost one-third of the state’s businesses are family-owned enterprises, and these companies employ a healthy portion of the state’s workforce. In fact, for some Florida college students, following in the family footsteps and safeguarding a legacy has become an intentional and savvy career path. Simply put, it’s not just a summer gig anymore! 

If you own a family business, and your student has an interest in carrying on your legacy, you’re living in the right state. Here in Florida, multiple universities now have undergraduate degree programs aimed at preparing students to take over the family business. Here’s a quick summary of these unique majors:

  • Stetson University. This private university in Deland offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in family enterprise management. Students in this program—the nation’s first major with a board of advisors to keep it grounded in practical and real-world experience—learn the skills needed to navigate the complexities of a family business.
    • With a focus on efficient governance, leadership and maintaining a competitive edge, the curriculum is designed to encourage interdisciplinary study and allows students to double major, pairing family enterprise management with accounting or finance.
    • The program includes courses on investments, retirement planning, cross-cultural negotiation and conflict resolution, succession planning, and real estate principles. Graduates find work not only at family firms and family foundations, but also at the consulting, legal and financial businesses serving family enterprises.
  • Florida State University. The Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship is a superb gateway for young people looking to build upon an existing family business or start their own family venture from the ground up.
    • Its three majors—commercial entrepreneurship, retail entrepreneurship and STEM entrepreneurship—provide students with courses covering a range of areas, including business plan design, accounting for entrepreneurs, retail math, personal finance and corporate responsibility. Students are also required to find and complete an internship to graduate from these programs.
    • The Entrepreneurship curriculum is designed by full-time faculty members and Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) whose task is to teach students how to launch, manage and generate income from an original business venture.
  • University of Florida. In a state with more than 47,000 farms and ranches producing food and other products across 9.7 million acres, UF’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences just makes sense!
    • For students with a heritage of family farming, or those who are simply interested in pursuing farming, one of the most relevant degree programs is agricultural operations management. Known for its small class sizes, the AOM curriculum blends business principles, emerging technology and sustainable methods with hands-on coursework.
    • Students in this program gain experience in everything from energy efficiency and irrigation to remote sensing and crop management. They also graduate and find work in areas such as grove management, cattle operation, citrus processing and commercial nurseries.

As your student decides on a college major—for the family business or something entirely different—keep in mind the flexibility of Florida 529 Prepaid Plans. They are not subject to stock market fluctuations, they’re fully refundable, guaranteed by the State of Florida and can be used at in-state, out-of-state, public, private, trade and technical schools nationwide. You can also save in the Florida 529 Savings Plan, contributing what you want, when you want, and funds can be used for a wide variety of college expenses.

Have more questions? We have answers! Explore our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

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