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Higher education pays too little attention to the world’s most common type of enterprise, the family business. In the course of their studies, most students learn almost nothing about the particular characteristics of entrepreneurial families and their businesses. Therefore, to promote more widespread interest in family businesses, the Ten Clarenwater Foundation and the Dutch Centre of Expertise in Family Business at Windesheim University are introducing an international thesis award. The aim is to encourage students to look more closely at this field and contribute to the availability of practical knowledge about family businesses through the research they do for their final study projects.

The annual Ten Clarenwater Thesis Awards for final study projects concerned with family businesses will be awarded for the first time in spring 2017 and will continue in 2018. There will be two awards: one for the best bachelor’s thesis and one for the best master’s thesis submitted in 2017. The foundation and Windesheim’s expertise centre are inviting students to enter for the award. Theses may be submitted in Dutch or English and will be assessed on the originality of their approach, their innovativeness and topicality, the quality of their analysis, the strength of their evidential basis and their social relevance. The linkage of theory and practice and the resulting usefulness of the findings for family businesses will also be taken into account.

Wider interest in family businesses

The foundation and Windesheim’s expertise centre hope that the awards and the publications that they generate will help to widen interest in family businesses. “The family business is the most common type of enterprise in the world, but it is largely ignored by academia. By introducing the awards, we want to make more students aware of the particular characteristics and influence of entrepreneurial families and their businesses,” said Ilse Matser from the Dutch Centre of Expertise in Family Business. “Given the breadth and multidisciplinary nature of the subject, we expect the entries to yield valuable economic, administrative, legal, psychological and social insights.”

Entry and award details

Bachelor’s and master’s students who wish to be considered for the Ten Clarenwater Thesis Awards need to enter no later than 15 February 2018 at Each of the award winners will receive a cash prize of €2,500 and will have their thesis published.

About the organizers

The Dutch Centre of Expertise in Family Business at Windesheim University focuses on the entrepreneurial strength of family businesses. The centre generates knowledge and insights on the basis of practice-focused research undertaken in close association with family businesses. Knowledge is then disseminated through meetings, publications, training and collaborative projects. The Ten Clarenwater Foundation provides financial support for the research and knowledge development work of the Dutch Centre of Expertise in Family Business. The foundation is funded by donations from family businesses.