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.

FEFO Hot Topics for Family Offices in 2022 - Workshop


Thursday, February 24th, 2022 from 1 - 2pm

L. William Seidman Center

For more information, click here.

Dr. Eric Clinton

Congratulations to our 2021-22 FOBI Scholar in Residence, Dr. Eric Clinton!!!

The Scholar in Residence will be collaborating and exploring research opportunities with Seidman faculty, and will be visiting us in early 2022 to connect with the West Michigan family business community. 

To learn more about Dr. Eric Clinton and his research, visit our Scholar in Residence page!

Thank you, Kimberly Eddleston, and our online and in-person audiences for this wonderful workshop on understanding the Fredo effect! 

Online Audience POV of Kimberly Eddleston's Workshop

Kimberly Eddleston

In-Person Audience POV of Kimberly Eddleston's Workshop


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