EIX, Family Business Reach New Heights: 3.5 Million Visitors
Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange (EIX) and Familybusiness.org enjoyed a record year from July 2021 through June 2022, attracting more than 3.5 million visitors and more than 5.8 million page views from around the world. The number of visitors and page views rose more than 70% from the previous year.
These achievements represent important milestones in our mission to offer free articles, videos and other content to help entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses and family businesses to be more successful. The sites combine the best qualities of both academic journals and general-interest publications: All articles are peer reviewed by scholars or other experts, but they are written to be accessible to a general audience. And along with providing advice for businesses, both sites also serve as a valuable resource for teachers and students; their content is widely used at colleges and universities around the world.
The EIX Story
EIX and Familybusiness.org are possible because of Dick Schulze, the founder and former CEO of Best Buy, whose foundation provides the funding that enables us offer content without having to write articles designed to attract advertisers or subscriptions. A self-made entrepreneur, billionaire and philanthropist, Dick grew Best Buy from a small Minnesota-based chain of electronics stores into a $47 billion powerhouse.
In 2012 Dick spoke with Jim Wetherbe -- a Texas Tech University professor and former Best Buy board member, who also played a critical role as executive editor in the success of the premier academic journal MIS Quarterly -- about his desire to give back to the world by advancing entrepreneurial knowledge and supporting entrepreneurial initiatives in the US and ultimately the world. Dick well understands that many new jobs are created by entrepreneurs, and that he could create more prosperity by providing a useful and compelling resource for practitioners, students, and researchers of entrepreneurship. The vision was creating a social media-based learning platform, with highly accelerated turnaround times for publishing peer-reviewed advice.
Dick had already funded the Richard M. Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University to St. Thomas in Minnesota, and EIX was a way to expand his impact. A generous grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation made EIX possible. EIX was launched in April 2014, with Wetherbe serving as founding editor in chief and with Professor David Deeds of the Schulze School serving as senior editor, eventually succeeding Wetherbe as editor in chief in 2017. Both continue to be deeply involved in EIX and familybusiness.org today.
Wetherbe and Deeds tapped their considerable networks of entrepreneurship thought leaders to serve on the editorial board and to contribute the first articles. The technology underlying the platform was created by Operations and Program Manager James Beal and Technology Director John Eckhardt. Early members of the board included three editors and professors who would eventually lead the two publications: Kimberly Eddleston of Northeastern University, Jon Eckhardt of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Daniel Forbes of University of Minnesota. All three had a key role in contributing content and shaping the foundations of EIX's future success.
Expanding the Reach to Students and Family Firms
In 2017, EIX became a co-sponsor along with the Schulze School of e-Fest, an undergraduate business idea competition. And a year later, Dick expanded his mission to provide research-driven, practical help for family businesses, which create a majority of the world’s wealth. The launch of Familybusiness.org in 2018 was headed up by professors Deeds and Eddleston. Since then, Familybusiness.org has attracted a growing number of contributors and readers from around the world.
Professors Jon Eckhardt and Daniel Forbes serve as EIX’s top editors today, along with Professor David Townsend of Virginia Tech. All three have been successful in tapping entrepreneurship thought leaders for articles, research translations, interviews and other resources to help current and future entrepreneurs succeed and to help entrepreneurship educators teach more powerfully.
Professor Eddleston continues to lead Familybusiness.org, expanding its impact and reach with assistance from Senior Editor Professor Mat Hughes, of Loughborough University in the UK. She also continues to develop articles, interviews and other resources for EIX. John Eckhardt and his team at CodePros provide the technical assistance to keep both sites running smoothly, and Adam Lofquist manages the social media campaigns that help more people discover us.
Over the years, many celebrated entrepreneurs, thought leaders and family business experts have contributed articles or have been interviewed by our editors. Authors of our most impactful articles on EIX and Familybusiness.org have received Schulze Publication Awards.
Helping Readers Adapt to a Changing World
The editorial team has also forged alliances with scholarly journals – EIX with the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and familybusiness.org with the Journal of Family Business Strategy – to develop these journals’ academic articles into practical advice for non-academics. This extends the impact of the research to people who need it most. Some of our translations of scholarly research have attracted more than 70,000 views each; most attract more than 7,000. They have also encouraged more people to explore the scholarly research, increasing the number of downloads of the original study. In another successful partnership, entrepreneurship and midlife articles created by NextAvenue, an online platform launched by PBS, is also shared on the EIX/Family Business Platform.
Readership rose dramatically throughout 2020 and 2021, after the editorial team undertook an ambitious effort to produce articles to help businesses and educators deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The two sites published dozens of articles by professors, consultants and business owners sharing best practices for weathering the crisis and switching to remote work. Today, because of the editorial board’s strong network, the team can respond quickly to our readers’ needs for sound advice on the business world’s most pressing problems: whether it’s inflation, supply chain worries or labor shortages.
The editorial team looks forward to continuing to provide high quality relevant insights to help entrepreneurs, business owners, family businesses, professors and students be more successful in the future. Our goal is to help even more people discover this free resource, made possible through the generosity of Dick Schulze.
Catherine Buday is Managing Editor of EIX and Familybusiness.org.