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Babson College has announced that the Bertarelli Foundation is funding a new faculty chair, the Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship (“Chair”), with a $3 million gift to Babson College.  

Building on Babson College’s long history educating family entrepreneurs and advancing the study of family entrepreneurship, the chair will lead a multidisciplinary approach to family enterprise, where the family, not the business, is the focus.

The announcement was made at the 2014 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) in London, Ontario, as more than 400 leading academics and doctoral researchers from around the world gathered for the conference opening. Now in its 34th year, BCERC was the first, and remains the world’s premier, entrepreneurship research conference.

Also announced at BCERC is a new research prize named for Ernesto Bertarelli, a 1989 graduate of Babson College, in recognition of his family’s track record in fostering entrepreneurship. The Bertarelli Prize will reward $2,500 to the best family entrepreneurship paper presented at the 2014 BCERC.

“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,” said Babson President Kerry Healey. “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 entrepreneurs face a unique challenge,” said Dona Bertarelli, co-chair of The Bertarelli Foundation. “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.”

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.

The Bertarelli Foundation was founded in 1998 in memory of Fabio Bertarelli, by his widow Maria Iris, and children, Dona and Ernesto. For the first ten years, the foundation worked primarily to establish and develop healthcare projects building upon the legacy of the Serono Foundation, focusing on issues relating to human reproductive health. In 2008 it extended its horizons to focus on more general life science research and marine conservation. Both areas are of historic significance to the family, and this gift to Babson shows the Foundation’s parallel commitment to educate the next generation of family entrepreneurs and work in the communities where their businesses are active.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society—while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the 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 create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.

By Lindsey Cunningham,, 781-239-4548 | 06/05/2014 05:00