University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

School of Business Administration Joins STEP Project

Students walk outside Kalkin Hall
Kalkin Hall

The School of Business Administration is in the process of positioning itself to be a forerunner in Entrepreneurship and Family Business Research and Education.  Recently, the School joined 41 Affiliate Universities worldwide as part of the Babson College Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project. 

The STEP Project is a global applied research initiative that explores the entrepreneurial process within business families and generates solutions that have immediate application for family leaders.   

"Our affiliation with STEP provides us with unparalleled access to comparative information on what influences the entrepreneurial success of family businesses," said Dr. Rocki-Lee DeWitt, UVM's STEP Team Leader.  "We are interacting with scholars and member companies from around the world, offering the broadest possible insight to how family businesses sustain their entrepreneurial spirit across generations.  STEP provides a chance for us to contribute to the body of knowledge because UVM has some very accomplished family businesses, gives students an opportunity to learn about family businesses from around the globe as they work with the researchers to build case studies, and connects us with scholars who share similar research interests."

“Family enterprises dominate the world economy and society. So it is no surprise that over sixty percent of UVM business students come from a family business background,” said Dr. Pramodita Sharma, of the School of Business Administration. 

Last fall, Dr. Pramodita Sharma was appointed the Sanders Professor for Family Business at the School of Business Administration.  Dr. Sharma is the Academic Director of the STEP Global Board and is the editor of Family Business Review, a leading journal for research on family enterprises.  Dr. Sharma also co-founded the Family Enterprise Research Conference, which is hosting its annual meeting in Montreal in May.

“Our student and community-focused activities are supported through the Vermont Family Business Initiative,” said Dr. Sharma.

Those activities include the 1st annual Family Business Awards during the University’s Homecoming in October and the first-ever Global Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC) in January.  The Family Business Awards will recognize UVM alumni and Vermont based businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to creating sustainable business through leadership and innovation.  The FECC will match undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in universities and colleges with the world’s finest family business programs.  

“The Family Business Initiative @UVM has connected the family owned businesses in Vermont for over 12 years,” said Dann Van Der Vliet, director of the Family Business Initiative @UVM.  “Now with the Family Business Awards and all of our other new programs we can start connecting business owners and students around the world.  It also engages our alumni owned businesses in exciting ways that have not been done before.”

“With all these exciting initiatives, the School of Business Administration is well positioned to provide leading edge knowledge to our students,” said Dr. Sharma.

Learn More About:

Family Business Awards

Global Family Enterprise Case Competition

STEP Project