Dec 15, 2019  
University of Alberta Calendar 2017-2018 
University of Alberta Calendar 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Major in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise [Business]

Description of Field

Entrepreneurial activity is vital to economic development and societal well-being. All progressive societies have economic systems that create new firms as well as encourage entrepreneurial renewal in existing firms. Family enterprises are important economic entities, representing the predominant form of business organization around the globe (between 65% and 80% of the world's businesses are controlled by families). This specialization aims to help students develop the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to work effectively in a start-up or collaboratively with others in existing firms. Two streams are available—the general entrepreneurship stream and the family enterprise stream. Depending upon their emphasis, students will learn how to:

  1. Identify and evaluate business opportunities, mobilize resources, and create an organization;
  2. Manage the transition from an entrepreneurial start-up to a more complex business entity;
  3. Interact with family enterprises more effectively, through enhanced understanding of the unique challenges facing such organizations in different regions of the world; and/or,
  4. Integrate family members into a business venture, take over leadership of a family enterprise, pass a business onto the next generation, and manage the trans-generational transfer of wealth.

Career Opportunities

The highs, lows, and personal rewards of founding or owning a business are well-documented in the media. A number of exciting, challenging, and rewarding careers are available to students who specialize in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise. Three distinct career paths include:

  1. Creating, owning and/or managing a business venture (either immediately upon graduation or after obtaining experience in other firms);
  2. Becoming the next-generation leader of an existing family enterprise (whether that enterprise is operated by one's own family or someone else's);
  3. Becoming a professional advisor (such as an accountant, financial services provider, management consultant, or lawyer) who specializes in entrepreneurial and/or family-controlled enterprises.

By specializing in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, students will also develop more informed answers to such career-defining questions as, "Do I have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?", "Do I want to launch a business with family members or join a family enterprise?", and/or, "Do I want to market myself as an advisor to entrepreneurial and family-controlled firms?"

Sequence of Courses

Both streams

Year Two—Winter

Year Three—General Entrepreneurship Stream

Year Three—Family Enterprise Stream

Year Four—General Entrepreneurship Stream

Year Four—Family Enterprise Stream


  1. See Policy on Elective Courses  and Free Electives . Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise students are encouraged to take SOC 100 .
  2. This course can be taken in either term.
  3. This course can be taken in either term in either Year Three or Year Four.
  4. Designated SMO electives: SMO 402 , SMO 404 , SMO 411 , SMO 412 , SMO 433 , SMO 434, and SMO 435 . SMO 427 , SMO 428  and SMO 442  are recommended electives for General entrepreneurship stream students.
  5. Designated HECOL/SOC electives: SOC 271 ; HECOL 200, HECOL 210 , HECOL 310 , HECOL 313  and HECOL 321 .
  6. Students are encouraged to take ACCTG 412 , OM 352  or 300- or 400-level MARK)


  1. Students with a declared major in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise may choose to do a minor in any subject area of Business. See Minors for Business Students  . Minors are not required.
  2. Students with a declared major in another area may complete a minor in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise by completing either Option A or Option B, below:

Recommended Courses for Specific Career Paths

Students who are considering the following career paths are encouraged to include the following courses when designing their program of studies:

  1. Students who are interested in starting their own business: SMO 430 , SMO 431 , and SMO 441 ; HECOL 321 . If they will be starting a business with a (current or potential) family member: Add HECOL 210  or HECOL 310 .
  2. Students who are interested in joining a family business (their own or someone else's): SMO 427  and SMO 428 ; HECOL 310  or HECOL 313 . If they will be working in or with an international family business: Add SMO 442  and SMO 435 .
  3. Students who are interested in becoming a professional advisor to family enterprises: SMO 427 , SMO 428 , and SMO 434; and HECOL 313 . If they will be advising family enterprises internationally: Add SMO 442  and SMO 435 .