According to some estimates, between 60 and 70 percent of the worlds business is conducted by family enterprises. Which is one reason why the Grossman School of Business is a forerunner and leader in family business research and education, with family business initiatives beginning at the University of Vermont in 1998.
Numerous faculty members are engaged in family business research and serve on the editorial boards of leading journals in the field; including the Editor-in-Chief of the top ranked Family Business Review from 2009 - 2017.
We are also proud to serve as the anchor for the Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC) established in 2005 by Mark Green and UVM Professor Pramodita Sharma. This annual conference is dedicated to developing a community of scholars interested in conducting research into understanding family firms and creating usable knowledge in this field.
The 2019 FERC conference, hosted by the Grossman School of Business over 4 days, wrapped up last weekend, with more than 130 scholars from 81 educational institutions representing 22 countries attending. Guided by the theme of the conference, “The Role of Family Firms in Social and Sustainable Innovation,” the program consisted of keynote panels, poster sessions, professional development workshops and seminars on a variety of topics. As well as a gala dinner and visits to prominent Vermont family business enterprises; including a tour of Shelburne Farms given by their president, Alec Webb.
"FERC was originally envisioned to serve as a venue in North America, where family business scholars could gather to share their research, get feedback on their ideas, and build their networks" said Professor Pramodita Sharma. She continued "However, I am pleased and gratified to say that since the very beginning it has attracted researchers from around the world, and continues to grow every year."
Nadine Kammerlander, from the Center for Family Business, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland echoed this sentiment “FERC is a great networking opportunity. As such, FERC helped me to build up relationships with international scholars that share my research interests - indeed, it was during FERC conferences that I got to know most of my co-authors. Besides, the feedback that I received for my presentations at doctoral consortiums as well as poster presentations, tremendously helped me to improve the quality of my publications.”
The 16th annual FERC conference will take place May 28-30, 2020 in Delray Beach, Florida, hosted by Florida Atlantic University.