Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell

The Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell is dedicated to supporting and strengthening the network of owners, leaders and alumni that work in, with or for a family business.

Founded in 2014 from a generous gift from John and Dyan Smith, the Smith Family Business Initiative provides education, networking and new knowledge for family business owners, successors and students from across the globe.

2019 Families in Business Conference

Registration is now open for our biggest event of the year – join us for a celebration of family business. The annual conference brings together family members, business leaders, students and alumni over the course of two days in Ithaca. Mark your calendars for September 26 & 27 and make your plans to visit us in Ithaca


The Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell BusinessFeed

March 22, 2019

Helping family businesses thrive: SFBI turns five years old

A Cornell-wide program, the Smith Family Business Initiative was founded in 2014 with a $10 million donation from John Smith, MBA ’74, and his wife, Dyan.

January 10, 2019

So you want to be an entrepreneur? Part 2: Spaces and initiatives

In Part 2 of this series, Donnie and Earl offer a list of co-working spaces, initiatives, events, and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs at Cornell.

October 24, 2018

Breaking gender barriers across generations

At the Cornell Family Business Roundtable, women from within the Johnson community and beyond gathered to discuss leadership and their family’s businesses.


Family Business Blog

June 27, 2019

The Rewards and Challenges of Working for a Family Business: Doug Baumoel’s Story

Based on an interview with Cornell University’s Smith Family Business Initiative Working for your family’s business can be a very rewarding experience if it functions well. When it doesn’t, the experience can be extremely challenging. “When it works, it is an opportunity to create a valuable family legacy and for families to stay connected for […]

May 20, 2019

Margarita Tsoutsoura: Exploring challenges faced by family-owned businesses

Family-owned businesses dominate the economic landscape in the United States: Between 70 and 90 percent of all firms in America are owned or controlled by families. They generate 62 percent of the country’s employment and 78 percent of all job creation, recent data show. In 2017, Tsoutsoura became academic director of the Smith Family Business […]

April 19, 2019

Innovation in the Start-Up Nation

Reflection shared by Shiang-Wan Chin ’19 This past winter break of 2018 I attended the TAVtech Fellowship in Tel Aviv, Israel. The TAVtech Fellowship is a selective, four-week educational program based in Tel Aviv. Through an intensive curriculum and wealth of cultural and professional experiences, Fellows are able to broaden their understanding of technology development […]