The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics is opening a Center for Family Business to provide training, resources and support for West Virginia family business owners.

“West Virginia depends on a large number of family-owned businesses to provide goods and services to its small and geographically dispersed population,”B&E Dean Jay Coats said.”Through a generous gift of the DeLynn family, we will be able to help this vital sector of the states economy.”

Laurence and Jean J. DeLynn donated $75,000 to create the new B&E Center for Family Business. The DeLynns owned two retail stores in downtown Morgantown. They succeeded in their business ventures, but many family businesses today still struggle and fail.

“My wife and I believe in small business, and we wanted to help the business school,”Laurence DeLynn said.”There is a personal relationship and goodwill towards the state. People are proud to be called mountaineers and live in West Virginia.”

The center will form statewide groups of family business representatives to identify the most significant issues facing their businesses, whether they have been in business for a week or a generation. Ideas from these groups will be used to develop seminars across the state.

Topics might include family business succession, managing rapid growth, tax law and ensuring stability through transition, Coats said. He said businesses might range from small, local enterprises to a large international firm.

The center will not only work with small businesses, but it will also engage WVU students who will be encouraged to establish or join existing family businesses. Business that would like to participate should call Maria Yester at (304) 293-7963 or .