As part of the sponsorship, SEB is providing 6 million kronor per year over a period of five years, with the possibility of an extension of five more years. This will create the foundation for SSE’s new center, which will be led by the newly established SEB Chair in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. The center will focus on three interrelated areas within the context of family enterprise in the Nordic region: innovation and entrepreneurship, ownership and governance, and philanthropy and impact investment.
”Ever since SEB was founded more than 165 years ago, we have supported entrepreneurs and family businesses to develop, innovate, grow and expand in the world – it is part of our DNA,” says William Paus, Head of SEB’s division Private Wealth Management & Family Office. “We are therefore very proud and happy to be able to support SSE in advancing the scope of its research and education within this field. It will be of great benefit to family enterprises and business families, the organisations that support them, and to the societies and communities in which they operate.”
SSE is a private institution that partly relies on corporate partnerships for funding. The Wallenberg family, which founded SEB in 1856 and remains the bank’s largest shareholder through Investor AB and family foundations, has supported SSE since it was founded in 1909. Back then, a number of industry leaders led by K. A. Wallenberg and Olof A. Söderberg committed to the idea of funding a private business school. The Wallenberg and Söderberg families remain supporters of the school today, along with other business families that have joined over the years – including the Ax:son Johnson, Bonnier, Lundberg and Persson families. SSE’s expanded focus on entrepreneurs and family business is thus well rooted both in the school’s heritage and in Sweden’s modern history.
“We are very grateful for SEB’s sponsorship of the new Chair in Entrepreneurship and Family Business and its support in part-funding and laying the foundation for our new center focusing on family enterprise in the Nordic region,” says Lars Strannegård, President of SSE. “SEB has a long history of supporting entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses, and we are very excited to have a partner that so strongly shares our interest in, and commitment to, this area.”
The Board of Directors of SSE has awarded the Chair in Entrepreneurship and Family Business to Mattias Nordqvist, who is a world-renowned scholar in the area of family enterprise. He joined SSE in 2019, having been an Associate Dean of Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) where he also served as the Director of the Center for Family Entrepreneurship and Ownership (CeFEO). Prior to that, Mattias Nordqvist was the co-Director for the Global STEP Project on Family Enterprising. He has also been a visiting professor at Babson College (USA) and Bocconi (Italy).
At SSE, Mattias Nordqvist launched the first course with focus on family enterprise called Entrepreneurial Family Firms. His current research projects focus on new venture creation and governance, sustainability in large family-controlled businesses, entrepreneurship and strategic renewal in family businesses, and the emergence, role and organisation of family offices.
“Family enterprises represent the most common form of business organisation in the world,” says Mattias Nordqvist. “This is particularly evident in Sweden and in our neighboring Nordic countries, which is home to some of the world’s most famous family-owned brands. While these companies contribute hugely to entrepreneurship, innovation and the development of society, their importance clearly merits more attention in the academic world. I am therefore very glad that SSE, with the support of SEB, is now establishing a new research center in this field and am very honoured to have been awarded this professorship.”
Through the sponsorship, SEB will gain access to insights and fact-based knowledge in the area of family enterprise, which will be of great value to SEB and the bank’s newly established division Private Wealth Management & Family Office. The sponsorship will also allow SEB and SSE to collaborate on a number of activities, including seminars, roundtable discussions and education.