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Family Enterprise competes in first global FECC

Family Enterprise

Family Enterprise team. From left to right: Joe Horak (coach), Madison Anderson, Abbey Shupe, Torri Hawley, Michael Furlong, Peter Begalla

Sixteen teams – including one from Stetson University — from ten different countries and four different continents gathered in Burlington, Vt., for the first annual Family Enterprise Case Competition. Stetson University is well known for being the first university globally to offer a Family Enterprise major.

In this type of competition, each team is given a case to evaluate and three hours to prepare a presentation. Students spend their time brainstorming solutions and weighing family dynamics against business considerations. The presentations are then given to a panel of judges made up of scholars, advisors and family business owners.

Stetson’s team included students Madison Anderson, Abbey Shupe, Torri Hawley, and Michael Furlong. Visiting lecturer Joe Horak and Peter Begalla, from the Family Enterprise Center, accompanied the team to Vermont as coaches.

“The Stetson University team did extraordinarily well,” said Begalla. Although the team did not win, “they competed with strong and unique presentations with professional skill,” he added.

Horak says the school’s family business major is geared as much toward personal development as business education.

“In our first class there is a lot of personal and leadership assessment and the final product is a life plan,” says Horak. “Because the students have this personal development and character development, when they graduate we find that employers say, ‘we want to hire your students because we can’t teach that.’ We see that as the uniqueness of our program and the strength.”

Countries that participated in the competition included Mexico, Chile, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, Malaysia, Spain, Colombia, Sweden and the United States. The international feel of the competition allowed for a wide range of cultural exchange and different outlooks on constructing a successful family business.

“The competition helped students analyze complex business and family dynamics, then present best practices that balance the health and wellness of both the family and the business,” said Begalla.

Stetson University will be registering to compete in the 2nd Annual Family Enterprise Case Competition in 2014.

by Sarah Taylor