Other aims of the organization are: 1) to promote sustainable development of multi-generational family businesses in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 2) to develop research and training programs related to the activities of family firms and their corporate governance, 3) to implement information campaigns to promote the establishment of family firms, and 4) to organize events for family firm members.

Baltic Family Firm Institute’s vision is to be the leading network of scholars and practitioners in the field of family enterprise in the Baltic States. The three pillars of BFFI - research, advisory and education - provide research-based knowledge and tools for family firm members, consultants and academics.

Anete Pajuste, Finance Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, explains the idea behind the creation of this network: “Over the last three decades, dramatic changes have happened in firm governance practices, and the first generation of entrepreneurs is nearing retirement. The topicality of family firm research, advisory and education in the Baltic context has become evident during conversations with family firms, consultants and policy makers. There is increasing evidence of the positive role played by family firms, including both publicly listed and privately-owned entities. However, one of the main challenges for family businesses is succession. It is becoming more complex due to changes in family, management and governance systems. Sound governance reduces conflicts of interest, maintains family harmony, and creates value for all stakeholders. Business transfer is a critical milestone in the life of many family businesses that with the ageing of the population of entrepreneurs becomes even more acute. In this context, one of the first activities of the BFFI will be the Inaugural Conference on family firm succession in the Baltics.”

The inaugural management board of the BFFI consists of seven scholars and practitioners that all share a common passion for nurturing successful family firms. The board members are Jānis Bērziņš (BI Norwegian Business School), Valdonė Darškuvienė (ISM University of Management and Economics, Lithuania), Krista Jaakson (Tartu University, Estonia), Valerija Kozlova (RISEBA University of Applied Sciences), Kārlis Krastiņš (Prudentia), Anete Marhele (Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns), and Anete Pajuste (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga).

„Family business is an important and independent area of research that is undeservedly lacking in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian academic sphere. BFFI provides a community that helps interested scholars to make connections to family firms and other researchers in the Baltics,“ says Krista Jaakson, Associate Professor at Tartu University in Estonia.

Jānis Bērziņš, Associate Professor at BI Norwegian Business School, continues: “BFFI provides opportunity for two-way dialogue between researchers and business community members to advance understanding of key current business issues faced by family firm owners.”

Anete Marhele, Head of Tax at Eversheds Sutherlands Bitāns, contributes legal perspective to family firm issues: “Family firms are crucial part of Baltic economies; therefore, it is important to support and help with transformation and further development of these businesses. BFFI is here to provide the necessary support." 

“Family-owned firms make up cornerstone of Baltic economies. Some are smaller, some bigger, but the challenges are the same. What is our firm’s competitive advantage? Can we successfully compete with multinational companies? What is optimal capital structure of our firm? What is the market value of our firm? We think we can help with some answers and share industry best practice with you,“ says Kārlis Krastiņš, Partner at Prudentia, who brings to the table industry experience on family firm succession planning, capital attraction, and sale to investors.

Valdonė Darškuvienė, Professor at ISM University of Management and Economics in Lithuania, continues: “The institute will bring together family firms, scholars and consultants to explore how family-controlled enterprises embrace the changing business environment, external and internal challenges. It will fill the niche for evidence-based expertise and solutions to bring new insights to advance sustainable family business practices.”

“Family companies in the Baltics are at the crucial point of the first business transfer. Successful business transfers ensure continuity, preserve employment, and uphold the value of assets. BFFI is created to support family firms during this important phase in the life cycle," explains Valerija Kozlova, Researcher on Family Businesses at RISEBA University of Applied Sciences.

Family firm owners, managers, family office representatives, as well as consultants and advisors are kindly invited to become members and corporate partners of the Baltic Family Firm Institute. Two main membership categories are individual members and corporate members.

BFFI members will benefit from regular networking and experience sharing club events, receiving news on family firm topics and regular updates from a comprehensive family firm database, as well as having access to pro bono advisory hours from legal, financial and management experts. More information about member categories and benefits can be found here.

All members and partners of the BFFI are invited to the Inaugural Conference that will take place on November 24 in Riga and will focus on the topic of family firm succession in the Baltics.

For more information, please visit BFFI website

Anete Pajuste, Board Member, “Baltic Family Firm Institute” 
E-mail: anete.pajuste@sseriga.edu

Krista Jaakson, Board Member, “Baltic Family Firm Institute”
E-mail: krista.jaakson@ut.ee

Valdone Darskuviene, Board Member, “Baltic Family Firm Institute”
E-mail: valdar@ism.lt