The Foundation

After initially being funded and supported for seven years by Deutsche Bank, in 2005 a group of family businesses took over the funding of the WIFU. With the WIFU Foundation, established in 2009, the “Club of Institute Sponsors” has created an institutional structure to promote WIFU research and teaching on family entrepreneurship. Institute sponsors represent all sectors of industry, ranging from small and medium-sized family enterprises to large-scale publicly listed corporations and from companies managed by the founder to family shareholders in the 16th generation.

Thus the Club‘s members themselves reflect the great variety among family enterprises.

It is the commitment of entrepreneurial personalities at the financial, technical and in particular personal level that defines the work of the Institute and indeed makes its existence possible in the first place. For this reason, thanks are due to all Institute sponsors for their friendly support. It is this support that enables the WIFU to exist as an institute of family business for family business, to fill this maxim with life every day and to contribute to the sustainability and future development of the family business landscape.

Through the Club of Institute Sponsors, researchers maintain a continuous and close dialogue with the supporting companies, while the latter are informed of the latest research projects and become involved in them, as well as providing research stimuli themselves. The WIFU also offers opportunities for intensive dialogue between sponsors.

Family enterprises learn best from other family enterprises.

The WIFU regularly organises intensive dialogue sessions, within a protected setting, on sensitive issues such as leadership, succession, conflicts, crisis management, shareholder identity, mechanisms of family management, etc. This is largely possible because the Institute sponsors have a common goal:

To engage in dialogue on equal terms on the experience, success and challenges facing entrepreneur families and companies.

There are some 75 family businesses currently sponsoring WIFU activities. The Club of Institute Sponsors is essentially open to any family business that would like to get involved in the WIFU.