Babson College has launched the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship as a standalone hub of teaching, research, and innovative programs dedicated to advancing entrepreneurial families around the world.
Executive Director of Babson’s Institute for Family Entrepreneurship Lauri Union, Babson College President Kerry Healey, and Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship William Gartner at Babson
President Kerry Healey made the official announcement today at the College’s fourth annual Babson Connect: Worldwide entrepreneurship summit in Madrid, Spain, leading into a related panel discussion: A Conversation on Family Entrepreneurship and Business. There, she also introduced the institute’s first executive director, Lauri Union, a seasoned family entrepreneur known best for the major turnaround and sale of her family business after becoming president and CEO at just 27.
“As Babson prepares for its second century of leadership in entrepreneurship education, we are strategically focused on areas of great social and economic impact, including family-driven entrepreneurial activity,” said Babson College President Kerry Healey. “We are thrilled to formally announce the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, to welcome Lauri and her breadth of real-world expertise to Babson, and to continue supporting entrepreneurial families of all kinds.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Babson College, the pre-eminent institution for entrepreneurship education—one who’s founding principles were rooted in the importance of family business,” said Lauri Union. “I look forward to working with the many family entrepreneurs who will, who currently, or who have called Babson home, and am eager to help activate the institute in ways that will boost families’ entrepreneurial endeavors around the world.”
Consistent with Babson’s leadership in entrepreneurship education, and unlike any other school, Babson’s commitment to family entrepreneurs recognizes that families, not just family businesses, drive entrepreneurial behavior. This includes the support of multigenerational family businesses, family foundations, startups or acquisitions supported by families, spousal startups, entrepreneurial family members embarking on separate ventures, and many other value-creating family activities.
One of the most exciting initiatives planned for the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship is the Generational Entrepreneurship Amplifier, dedicated to both students and their families. The Amplifier will engage families during their student’s entire Babson experience, and extend afterward through Babson’s new Entrepreneurial Family Network, an ongoing network for support and exchange for families who have participated in the program. A key outcome of this immersive experience will be that families will foster the growth of their entrepreneurial legacy by co-creating a shared family vision that incorporates the next generation.
A fall 2018 pilot program is in development for current and incoming undergraduate students whose families are engaged in an entrepreneurial platform such as a business, a family office, or an investment arm. Those interested in being part of the foundational cohort should contact Faculty Director Matthew Allen or IFE Executive Director Lauri Union. The program has been made possible by a generous gift from Richard J. Snyder ’60, H’94, P’93 ’01 and Marilyn B. Snyder MBA’80, P’93—two dedicated and longstanding members of the Babson College community.
“An estimated 70 to 90 percent of global GDP annual is created by family businesses,” added Matthew Allen, faculty director of the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship at Babson. “At Babson alone, 50 percent of undergraduate students and a similar percentage of graduate students, come from family businesses—and this does not yet account for the many who come from what we more broadly define as entrepreneurial families.”
“Babson’s focus on family entrepreneurship, not just family business, recognizes that entrepreneurial families are a critical factor in the creation of economic and social value globally,” added William Gartner, Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship at Babson.
In 2017, Babson announced the appointment of William B. Gartner as the Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship. Generously endowed by the Bertarelli Foundation, led by alumnus Ernesto Bertarelli ’89, this professorship supports innovative research and teaching efforts at Babson College that focus on family entrepreneurship from a global perspective.
Critical to the development and launch of Babson’s Institute for Family Entrepreneurship has been the support and enthusiasm of dedicated alumni, parents, and members of Babson’s Board of Overseers: Stephen Martiros ’83, MBA’85, P’21 ’21, Linda Bourn MBA’11, and Sylvia Shepard MBA’09.
Family Entrepreneurship at Babson
Strengthening family business was the core of Babson’s founding mission in 1919.
The College has since had a long history of educating family entrepreneurs, including Arthur M. Blank ’63, H’98, co-founder of Home Depot, chairman of The Arthur Blank Family Foundation, and owner of the Atlanta Falcons; C. Dean Metropoulos ’67, MBA’68, founder and CEO of his family business, Metropoulos & Co.; Edsel Ford II ’73, H’00, great-grandson of Henry Ford and member of the board of directors of Ford Motor Company; Ernesto Bertarelli ’89, CEO of Serono—founded by his grandfather in 1906, and co-chair of The Bertarelli Foundation with his sister, Dona Bertarelli P’20 ’22; just to name a few.
Babson also was the first to embark on a global research study focused on entrepreneurship in families. Through the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project, led by Academic Director Matthew Allen, Babson has convened and collaborated with 35 academic affiliates and 175 scholars to publish 11 books and 120 cases focused on family entrepreneurship across generations.
Next year, Babson will mark its Centennial and celebrate 100 years as the leader in entrepreneurship education. As the inventor of Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®, and the first to understand that entrepreneurship is the most powerful force for creating positive change in the world, Babson is now uniquely positioned to be the recognized school for family entrepreneurs. This historic strength for the College offers Babson the opportunity to prepare family entrepreneurs of all kinds to learn in a new way, creating social and economic value simultaneously, and in doing so, transforming lives, businesses, and communities for the better.