Launch: Spotlight Series by Family Business Histories

Launch: Spotlight Series by Family Business Histories

The Family Business Histories Project publishes a collection of case studies documenting the histories of 60 regional family businesses

The Family Business Histories Project publishes the Spotlights Series – a collection of 60 case studies, each documenting the history of a regional family business. The portal went live on 9th May 2023 and can be accessed via this link:

A collaborative research project between NYU Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum, the Family Business Histories is a research initiative that examines the historical impact of family businesses on the economy and society in the MENASA region. It is well-known that 60% of Middle Eastern economies’ GDP is generated by family-owned companies and 80% of the workforce in the Middle East is employed by family businesses.

Despite the significant economic contribution and multifaceted founding journeys of MENASA family businesses, their histories remain largely undocumented. The limited amount of existing documentation is often dispersed across highly localized sources. This lack of documentation and access barriers present significant challenges to academic researchers in this field and to stakeholders aiming to better understand the impact of family businesses in the region. 

As a first-of-its-kind endeavor in the MENASA region, this series is an ever-growing collection of brief case studies, or profiles, which aim to shine a light on the unwritten stories of regional family businesses. The profiles are available through our web portal, where the histories of family businesses from various countries, company sizes, and industries are explored. Each profile provides insights into the founders’ background, the business founding story, and key business milestones of the business operations over time.

The continuously expanding collection of profiles offers various entry points for researchers and practitioners and contributes to the documentation of the rich and complex history of regional family businesses. It features the profiles of families such as Al Fahim, Al Gurg, and Al Ghurair. 

Farida El Agamy, General Manager, Tharawat Family Business Forum: The publication of the FBH Spotlight series marks a milestone in family business research in the region as it will be the largest collection of historical family business profiles from the MENASA. The series allows us to take a unique insight into the emergence of family businesses and gives us an opportunity to learn from the external and internal challenges faced in the past – and to draw lessons for the future. 

Israa Maghoub, Research Associate: From a scholarly perspective, our Spotlight series seeks to address the challenges posed by limited and dispersed documentation and archival records of regional family businesses. We hope that this collection of case studies will inspire further research and contribute to a deeper understanding of the significant role family businesses have played in shaping the region’s past, present, and future.

Explore the Spotlight Series: 

About Family Business Histories
A collaborative research project between New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum, Our research explores the historical impact of family-owned businesses on the economy, culture, and society in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). We seek to facilitate an understanding into the growth and transformations of family businesses, while preserving the legacies of the founding entrepreneurs and their successors.

About NYU Abu Dhabi
NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective program with majors in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts, and humanities with a world center for advanced research. Its campus enables students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world, and to advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 125 countries and speak over 100 languages. Together, NYU’s campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents. 

About Tharawat Family Business Forum
The Tharawat Family Business Forum is an independent, membership network dedicated to the sustainability, innovation, and growth of MENA family businesses. The organisation was founded in 2006 by leading family-owned companies from across the Middle East, who shared a vision to build a strong peer community and platform for family businesses. Today, Tharawat plays an instrumental role in developing knowledge and expertise around family businesses in the region and beyond.

© 2023 Tharawat Family Business Forum

For questions about the project, contact us at [email protected].