A new centre at Dublin City University aimed at assisting family-owned businesses has been launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The Centre for Family Business has been established to help family firms tackle the "unique challenges" they face, according to the university.
It added that the initiative will create a platform to enhance the competitiveness of Irish family firms, offer insights into international best practice of family-firm management and help to shape future policy in the sector.
DCU pointed out that about 75pc of all companies in Ireland are family-owned and that, between them, they contribute more than 50pc of Ireland's GDP and employment.
The centre will also help such firms plan for the future by addressing succession plans because most family-owned businesses fail to survive beyond a generation. Mr Kenny said: "By 2013, I want Ireland to be the best place in the world to do business.
"The DCU Centre for Family Business will be fundamental in spearheading that for the future."
Among those at the event yesterday was Caroline Keeling, the chief executive of Dublin-based fruit grower Keelings.
She hopes the new centre will be an important support for family businesses that wish to accelerate their learning processes and that it will increase the number of companies that continue beyond a first generation. The centre is headed by Eric Clinton.
"While family firms aspire to continuity across generations, longevity and survival present particular difficulties in the family business domain," Mr Kenny said.
"It is estimated that fewer than 30pc of family firms pass into the second generation and, of those, only 10pc make it to the third and subsequent generations."