Celebrating its’ 5th anniversary, the annual global gathering of some of the top international business students, the Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC), returned to the University of Vermont in Burlington last week.

Hosted by the Grossman School of Business, FECC has earned a prominent reputation by providing a demanding student competition involving top scholars, business leaders and student teams.

This year, twenty-four teams and participants from six continents traveled to participate in the only student case competition in the world focused on family business. While multi-generational family businesses account for a significant amount of international GDP, it is only relatively recently that it has begun to be seriously studied as its own, unique form of enterprise.

Part of this newfound attention towards family business can be attributed to FECC. "The FECC combines what are two of the most important factors contributing to family business sustainability: A motivated next generation and an innovative approach to education. We have greatly enjoyed watching this event grow year by year and become the global success it deserves to be” said Ramia M. El Agamy, Editor-in-Chief, Tharawat Magazine, UAE and SWITZERLAND.

After four days of rigorous competition, Lazaridis Business School from the Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada took top honors in the undergraduate division, while ESADE Business School from Barcelona, Spain emerged as Graduate division winners. Teams and individuals were also presented awards including best presenter, coach and ambassadors. You can find the full list of individual award winners here.

Grossman student lead coordinator Abby Collins, said "some of my favorite memories throughout college so far have taken place during that one special week in January where I get to come back to Burlington early and participate in the Grossman School of Business' Family Enterprise Case Competition. This year I was lucky enough to help organize the events and logistics with regards to the judges. Being able to create both a personal and professional relationship with over eighty CEO's, Family Business Advisors, and educators was a truly incredible experience. I can’t wait to see what the next two years of FECC has to offer!

Her sentiments were echoed by Denise Paré Julien, Director of the Deschênes Lesage Family Business Centre, HEC, Montréal. "An amazing experience for students, coaches and judges passionate about the field of Family Business, a privilege to be part of the experience."

Dr. Pramodita Sharma, the Daniel Clark Sanders Chair & Professor of Family Business at the University of Vermont, Grossman School of Business was already looking forward to the next edition of FECC. “Now in its 5th year, the prominence and excitement FECC continues to generate is testament to the intensifying focus on family enterprises by business schools.”  She continued “here at the Grossman school, many more students apply to be involved in FECC than positions available; we had several teams on our wait list for the 2017 competition, have already started to receive inquiries to register teams for next year, and interest from judges to serve in FECC is significantly more than the positions on panels. All of which is encouraging not only for the future of the competition, but also our goal to continue to widen our networks and establish collaborations that increase our understanding of family business across the globe; comprehension that ultimately benefits all the attendees and organizations who participate.”


John M Turner