Family entrepreneurship

"75% of entrepreneurs in 48 economies around the world said that their family was involved in starting their businesses, either as co-managers or co-owners. The vast majority of startups around the world are, in fact, family businesses." -Babson

Entrepreneurship has non-economic dimensions as a vehicle for legacy or building family institutions. Many aging entrepreneurs wish to pass the business to the next generation, while other feels to pull of the family business as they reach maturity. 

However, it's not all about succession! Family entrepreneurship is about families building businesses together, often for the first time. Perhaps one of the most interesting characteristics of families is their ability to pool together resources to spawn new ventures that achieve family goals (Chrisman et al., 2003). 

Randerson et al. (2015) propose a number of interesting new topics for family entrepreneurship scholars to pursue. They suggest researching 'copreneurs', which refers to couples living together and running a business together. More research on family entrepreneurial team, which are groups of relatives that form to launch new ventures. They also see more research looking at corporate family entrepreneurship, where the emphasis is on decisions like merger and acquisitions, as well as spinoffs and exits. They also propose that transgenerational entrepreneurship and value creation is an area that is under-researched as most studies use only a short timespan in their data collection.

According to Aldrich et al. (2021), an appropriate way to include family business in entrepreneurship research is through a family embeddedness perspective that recognizes the reality of the shrinking size of the modern family and its changing composition. They note in their abstract: "decline of the corporate family, increasing occupational opportunities for women, decline of multigenerational families, growing proportion of never-married and childless adults".

The FEP recognizes the importance of the life course perspective, which aligns well with entrepreneurship research that examines entrepreneurship over long lifespans rather than single points in time. FEP also brings family demography, and family studies. Family studies help to bring a normative lens to questions of joining the family business at a certain age and the many other questions around coerced resource pooling. The family demography approach requires that we consider the totality of individual connections to other social entities.


Aldrich, H. E., Brumana, M., Campopiano, G., & Minola, T. (2021). Embedded but not asleep: Entrepreneurship and family business research in the 21st century. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 12(1), 100390.

Chrisman, J. J., Chua, J. H., & Steier, L. P. (2003). An introduction to theories of family business. Journal of business venturing, 18(4), 441-448.

Randerson, K., Bettinelli, C., Fayolle, A., & Anderson, A. (2015). Family entrepreneurship as a field of research: Exploring its contours and contents. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 6(3), 143-154.


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