Babson College’s Bertarelli Institute for Family Entrepreneurship

Babson College today announced the naming of the Bertarelli Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, a learning hub that will extend Babson’s founding mission, amplifying the capacity of enterprising families around the world to create economic value and social impact built upon the foundation of stronger family relationshipsThe Institute is made possible by a generous gift from the Bertarelli Foundation. The Institute, formerly known as the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, resides under The Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College. Ernesto Bertarelli graduated from Babson College in 1989. 

“The new name is a perfect fit for the Institute. Ernesto has long been a thought leader in family entrepreneurship, he has close ties to Babson, and he’s already helped shape much of the work we do here,” said Lauri Union, the Nulsen Family Executive Director of Babson’s Bertarelli Institute for Family Entrepreneurship.

In 2017, Babson named William B. Gartner the Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship. He also serves as the Institute’s Faculty Director for Research, and is universally recognized as a leading scholar in the area of entrepreneurship. “I’m honored to collaborate with colleagues who are pioneers in entrepreneurial research, and remain excited to continue to explore the various ways that families serve as the foundation for entrepreneurial activity all around the world,” Gartner said.

In the coming months, The Institute will launch a uniquely impactful initiative: The Babson Global Family Entrepreneurship Network. This network will amplify the capacity of entrepreneurial families from around the world to create value together, building on a foundation of stronger family relationships through curated learning, connectivity, and experiences. On average, 50% of Babson students come from a family business, and, according to “Family Firm Institute,” family businesses drive 70-90% of global GDP.

Members of the Babson Global Family Entrepreneurship Network will have access to the following benefits:

  • Curated Learning Opportunities in a confidential setting, guided by Babson, to exchange ideas and resources with others who have a shared life experience.
  • Curated Connectivity with other members of Babson’s unique global community.
  • Curated Experiences including special access to events and programs at Babson.

“We know we have this incredible global community, which so far hasn’t been connected as tightly as it could be,” Union said. “Babson’s Global Family Entrepreneurship Network will deliver significant opportunities to strengthen and grow our global community while providing shared learning from each other, as well as tapping into everything that Babson has to offer.”

“Business is taught in schools all over the world, but very, very few programs pay attention to the importance of family dynamics, values and culture, and how these are transmitted and how they evolve through generations,” said Ernesto Bertarelli. “This is an area of thinking and teaching where Babson already leads the way, and so it gives me great pleasure to see the College amplify its work with the Global Family Entrepreneurship Network. I very much look forward to seeing the results of this important and imaginative initiative over the coming years.

“I must also sincerely thank Babson and its leadership for the heartfelt honor it has bestowed upon my family with the naming of the Bertarelli Institute. The College has an enormous place in my heart and I feel privileged that we are able to continue to work together.”

Babson College Names William B. Gartner as Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship

Professorship endowed by the Bertarelli family’s Foundation will expand the College’s deep-rooted commitment to family entrepreneurs

Babson College, ranked No. 1 for entrepreneurship, has announced the appointment of William B. Gartner as its first Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship— endowed by the Bertarelli Foundation through a substantial gift to the college.

Building on Babson College’s long history of educating family entrepreneurs and advancing the study of family entrepreneurship, Professor Gartner will lead a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching and studying family entrepreneurship with an emphasis on expanding the entrepreneurial mindset and skillset across generations to ensure family entrepreneurs are equipped to create economic and social value in any context.

Gartner is universally recognized as a thought leader and leading scholar in the area of entrepreneurship, published across a variety of publications including Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Academy of Management Review, Small Business Economics, Journal of Business Venturing, and many more. He will be a tenured full professor in Babson’s Entrepreneurship Division.

“We are pleased to welcome Professor Gartner as Babson’s first Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship,” said Babson College President Kerry Healey. “For nearly a century, Babson has been at the forefront of educating entrepreneurial families and providing research and programming to help family enterprises achieve continued growth and innovation. Thanks to the generosity of the Bertarelli Foundation, Professor Gartner’s globally-recognized thought leadership in entrepreneurship, and Babson’s ongoing investments in this field, we will continue to make great strides in supporting entrepreneurial business families.”

Family businesses were the core of Babson’s founding mission in 1919 and, today, 40 percent of the school’s undergraduate students and 70 percent of full-time MBA students hail from family enterprises. In 2005, Babson was the first to launch a global research study focused on entrepreneurship in families. Through the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project, 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.

“I am thrilled to be at the No. 1 institution for entrepreneurship in the world, around colleagues who are leaders and pioneers in entrepreneurial research and teaching, and working with students who have a great reputation as creative organizers,” said Gartner. “Family business is an exciting area of entrepreneurship. As Babson’s mission and vision is global, and the college was founded on the principles of family business, I am excited to explore the various ways that families serve as the foundation for entrepreneurial activity all around the world.”

Ernesto Bertarelli said: “In establishing this Chair, our aim is to enable new avenues of research and thought in an area of scholarship that is central to successful entrepreneurship and to how future family business leaders adapt to an ever-changing world. We are delighted that, in Professor Gartner, Babson College has a world class academic who, as the first Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor, will challenge orthodox approaches and build a team to help lead Babson forward in this vital field.”

William B. Gartner

In addition to serving as the Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship at Babson College, Gartner is also a Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Linnaeus University in Vaxjo, Sweden. He has served in various academic positions at the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, the University of Southern California, Clemson University, San Francisco State University, ESSEC in Paris, and, the Copenhagen Business School. He is the 2005 winner of the Swedish Entrepreneurship Foundation International Award for outstanding contributions to entrepreneurship and small business research. His book: Entrepreneurship as Organizing was recently published in a paperback edition by Edward Elgar. His scholarship has focused on a variety of topics in the entrepreneurship field: entrepreneurial behavior, the social construction of the future, value creation and appropriation, possibility and failure, “translating entrepreneurship” across cultures and countries, the poetics of exchange, and, the demographics of family entrepreneurship. Gartner received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1982.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.

The Bertarelli Foundation Chair of Family Entrepreneurship is announced at Babson College

The Bertarelli Foundation has funded a new faculty chair at Babson College in Massachusetts with a $3 million gift. The Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship will lead a “multidisciplinary approach to family enterprise, where the family, not the business, is the focus.”

The gift agreement, signed by Dona Bertarelli and Babson President Kerry Healey, was made at the 2014 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference in London, Ontario, where more than 400 leading academics and doctoral researchers gathered.

Also announced at the conference is a new research prize, named for Ernesto Bertarelli (who graduated from Babson in 1989) in “recognition of his family’s track record in fostering entrepreneurship.” The Bertarelli Prize will reward $2,500 to best family entrepreneurship paper presented at the conference.

“Family entrepreneurs face a unique challenge,” said Dona Bertarelli . “As their businesses grow or change, they, too, need to adapt and evolve. At the same time, they need to preserve the original and special strengths, passions, and entrepreneurial characteristics of the family as they move in new directions. Through this faculty chair and our partnership with Babson College, we will have the opportunity to study this dynamic and help a new generation of individuals become tomorrow’s family entrepreneurs.”

Babson President Kerry Healey said: “Families are the dominant form of business organization worldwide and they play a leading role in the social and economic wealth creation of communities and countries,” Healey said. “For almost a century, Babson has been at the forefront educating entrepreneurial families and conducting research and programming to help family enterprises achieve continued growth. Thanks to the generosity of the Bertarelli Foundation, we will make even greater strides developing the entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities that enable business families to think and act more entrepreneurially in all contexts.”

Family entrepreneurship has been at the core of Babson College from its founding. The institute that later became Babson College was established to educate the sons of businessmen to join their fathers’ businesses. Babson’s vast experience with family businesses includes nearly a century of teaching, research, and programming for students, alumni, and friends of the College. As part of its Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, Babson is a founding member of the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) project, a global applied research initiative exploring the entrepreneurial process within business families and generating solutions that have immediate application for family leaders.