Welcome to the Family Owned Business Institute.

The Family Owned Business Institute mission is to champion and serve family owned businesses through scholarship, education and advocacy.

In September 1999, the Seidman College of Business and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce (working with its Family-Owned Business Council) raised $301,000 from a salute to Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos. This became the seed money for the Family Owned Business Institute, housed at the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University.

People Working

Scholar in Residence Program

The 2021-2022 Scholar in Residence Program application is now available!

Applications due on April 4th, 2021. 

Click here to apply!


We would like to congratulate Chris Cruz for being awarded the 2021 Family Owned Business Institute Research Grant!!! 

Chris is an assistant professor of Economics at the Seidman College of Business of the Grand Valley State University. He obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to graduate school, he worked first as a market research professional at Nielsen and then, as an economist at the Philippine Central Bank. This multifaceted experience shaped his two-pronged research and teaching agenda, covering both applied microeconomics and empirical macroeconomics. Much of his applied microeconomic research examines how policies and other shocks affect the labor supply, financial behavior, and health of the elderly. His macroeconomic research focuses on using relatively novel approaches in examining how the inflation targeting framework and other monetary policy issues affect macroeconomic outcomes. His research on family business reflects the intersection of his micro- and macroeconomic training, examining the nexus between the heterogeneity among family businesses and their resiliency during the corona virus-driven economic downturn. He also explores how the severity of the pandemic and government policies across countries have influenced the business strategies chosen by family businesses and their likelihood of survival. 

His study is using STEP Covid data to examine whether multi-generational family businesses are really more resilient than other types of businesses. In particular, he attempts to (1) show empirically if multigenerational family did perform differently from first-generation family businesses and nonfamily businesses during the pandemic and (2) identify short-term and long-term strategies that contributed to the differential impact of the covid pandemic on these different types of businesses.

Assistant Professor Chris Cruz

Dr. Kim Eddleston Picture

When the Family Undermines the Business: Understanding the Fredo Effect - Workshop

Figuring out how to maintain strong family relationships and a strong business can be a tremendous challenge for business families. While some family members work tirelessly to help their business succeed, others may be there simply because of their ‘last name’ and serve as impediments to their business. Balancing the needs of the family with the needs of the business is therefore important to creating a healthy family and a healthy business.  Learn how your family can excel at this balancing act from a nationally recognized expert on family business. Dr. Kimberly Eddleston, from Northeastern University, will share how you can successfully manage relationships, make and communicate tough decisions, and maintain close family relationships. Click here for more information!