Family Business Histories

Commercial Legacies, Economic Growth, and Social Change in the GCC/MENASA Regions

In the Middle East and North Africa, it is estimated that more than 80% of businesses are family-owned and run.  This interdisciplinary project of NYUAD and the Tharawat Family Business Forum will bring together scholars from the Humanities and Social Sciences at NYUAD to compile, document and analyze the history of selected regional family businesses to better understand past challenges and decision-making, as well as commercial legacies.

This understanding will not only offer significant insights into historical transformations of business cultures and socio-economic environments in the GCC as well as the MENASA region but also help family businesses address current and future challenges.

The goal of the joint project is thus to explore the plethora of contributions family businesses have made to the social and cultural landscape of the GCC and MENASA region as a global economic crossroads, seeking to capture the rich stories of the development of family businesses, the challenges they have overcome in the past and are facing today, and the many ways in which their stories intersect with the stories of the cities and countries they are connected to.

Inside an ELK factory in Cairo in 1940.