Global Competition Spotlights Family Business Enterprise

Thomas Waring of GCW Capital Group and Family & Business Directions, with Pharma "Dita" Sharma, founder of the University of Vermont event, and Tejas Shah, whose family business was a featured case study.

Thomas Waring of GCW Capital Group and Family & Business Directions, with Pharma "Dita" Sharma, founder of the University of Vermont event, and Tejas Shah, whose family business was a featured case study.

By Thomas Waring, Jr., Co-founder, GCW Capital Group and CEO, Family & Business Directions

I had the honor and pleasure of being an invited judge last week at the annual Global Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC) held at the University of Vermont’s Grossman School of Business in Burlington, Vermont. This is the second year I have been a judge, and the fifth year of the competition.

FECC prepares participants from colleges and universities to understand the critical issues that are unique to family enterprises. Twenty-four teams from across the world took part. Students (and judges) were represented from Spain, Germany, Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, UK, France, Colombia and the United States.

Over the course of the four rounds of competition, these bright, passionate students applied the knowledge and expertise they have developed in the classroom toward solving complex family business cases. I was again extremely impressed with the quality of presentations.

The judges and I had our work cut out for us, but in the end, recognized winners in the undergraduate and graduate categories, as well as several other ambassador awards of merit and note.

The study, science and art of helping family businesses succeed, transition and successfully face challenges is a unique type of work. Over my career I have been fortunate to work with many different types of family-created enterprises. From mid-sized firms and franchises, to large nationwide distributorships and more.

One consistent thread though is blending family with business can run a continuum from wonderful to disastrous. The challenges are often great, and the rewards of helping such businesses overcome obstacles, ease transitions and grow toward the future (and for future generations) is what makes it especially worthwhile to me.

Seeing the future of this industry in action last week in Burlington was equally rewarding. I commend all our participants on their efforts, and encourage any readers to share information about FECC with their own colleagues and students they know.

Seeking advice or counsel for your own business growth and/or transitions? Give us a call or send an email to us at GCW Capital Group or Family and Business Directions. We look forward to empowering you and your team—whether family-owned or otherwise—to tackle any challenge or opportunity. And to position you to grow your core wealth for many years and generations to come.