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SSE launches new center for family enterprises with pan-Nordic support

Family enterprises are the most common business form in the world – not least in the Nordics. They are also important drivers in entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability. The newly launched Center for Family Enterprise (CFE) at the Stockholm School of Economics will study the impact and organization of family enterprises in the Nordics.

Situated within the House of Innovation (HOI) at SSE, the Center for Family Enterprise is based on the professorship “SEB Chair in Entrepreneurship and Family Business” which was inaugurated in the spring of 2022 thanks to a sponsorship from the leading Nordic bank SEB. The new center will focus on three broad areas: innovation and entrepreneurship, organization and governance, and philanthropy and impact investment.

”At SSE, we are especially happy and proud to be able to launch an entirely Nordic initiative, gathering committed Nordic entrepreneurial families who want to contribute not just to entrepreneurship and innovation but to the long-term development of society,” says Mattias Nordqvist, the inaugural holder of the SEB Chair in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, and the founding Director of the Center for Family Enterprise.

Focus on family offices

Professor Mattias Nordqvist is widely regarded as one of the world's leading scholars on family business. He adds that what makes this research center unique is not just the Nordic angle, but also the ambition to develop research and education activities with focus on family offices and family investment companies.

As family enterprises grow and expand, many decide to adopt a family office structure, which allows the company to not just develop its own business but also invest in other entrepreneurial ventures, becoming an important driver in entrepreneurship and innovation. Many business families also seek to combine profit and purpose to develop sustainable business practices over generations and integrate non-financial goals in the legacy of their family enterprises. However, moving in this direction create challenges and the center seeks to develop knowledge which is relevant for business families, and for their stakeholders such as non-family professionals, advisors and policy makers.

The center will explore many topics such as founder-to-family transitions, and how to maintain and develop the entrepreneurial capabilities of owner-families and their businesses across generations. Moreover, the center will look at the professionalization of ownership and governance in growing and increasingly complex family enterprises, as well as the role of business families and family enterprises in impact investment and philantrophy.

Pan-Nordic support

Members from leading business families and their organizations across the Nordics are part of the supporters, including the Andresen (Ferd), Ehrnrooth (Virala), Haldor Topsøe (Topsoe), Salén (Salenia), and Söderström (HMP Foundation) families.

”Family ownership have distinct features, benefits and challenges that in nature are different from other ownership forms and thus deserve academic attention. Therefore, I am thrilled by the initiative by Stockholm School of Economics to launch a dedicated center for family ownership, and proud to be one of the co-sponsors behind SSE, professor Mattias Nordqvist and his brilliant staff in their efforts to give this unique ownership form the proper attention in a Nordic context. This will undoubtedly be beneficial not just to the many families and companies in this space, but for society and stakeholders to better understand, interact and appreciate the unique traits they represent,” says Jakob Haldor Topsøe, Chairman of Topsøe Holding A/S.

In addition to Professor Nordqvist, the academic team at CFE currently consists of Assistant Professor Erik Wetter and PhD-Candidate Camille Korschun. Dr Wetter's research focuses on innovation, data science, digital transformation, and management and negotiations in new ventures, and he previously headed up SSE Business Lab. Mrs Korschun was a co-founder of the world-renown Colombia Business School Family Enterprise Program, where she later served as Senior Associate Director. The center is currently growing and is recruiting more people.

For more information, please contact:

Mattias Nordqvist

Director of the Center for Family Enterprise
Email: mattias.nordqvist@hhs.se

Phone: +46-736-51 76 10

SSE House of Innovation Family economics Management News Press release