About IFE

About the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship

Message from the Nulsen Family Executive Director 

Lauri Union

The Institute for Family Entrepreneurship (IFE) is a relatively new institute, formed in April 2018. Our approach to the opportunities and challenges of business families is unique, so I often find myself politely correcting people about the name of our institute. “Actually, we are not the institute for family business (or family enterprise). We are the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship.” Why am I such a stickler about these word choices? The reason is that the topic of “family business” is really a topic about a business – specifically how a family impacts a business they control. Family Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, is about how the family as a system engages in entrepreneurial activity. With our unique focus on how families can more effectively function together to create growth, Babson is taking a global leadership role in shaping this new academic and practitioner field. You might think of our work as a merger between family dynamics and Babson’s legendary entrepreneurship practices.

Family Entrepreneurship 3 circle model

To represent our work, we have created our very own three-circle model, which shows our focus on the nexus of entrepreneurial opportunity, family functioning and self-reflectivity. Our courses and programs are all designed to explore this nexus and thereby amplify the capacity of families to create value together.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what we do here at the IFE. And while you're here, I encourage you to browse around our website and explore opportunities to connect with us. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on our offerings and happenings. I look forward to seeing you and your entrepreneurial family in our programs and events!

Lauri Union Signature

Please click on the date below to see the past message from the Executive Director.

IFE Overview

About the IFE

The Institute for Family Entrepreneurship (IFE) extends Babson College's founding mission to help strengthen family businesses around the world.

What We Do

The Institute for Family Entrepreneurship (IFE) extends Babson’s founding mission, amplifying the capacity of enterprising families around the world to create economic value and social impact, while building stronger family ties.

The Family Entrepreneurship Cycle

How We Are Different

We focus on the relationship approach of family entrepreneurship, rather than the more typical procedural family business approach (i.e., structure, governance, strategy), because research shows that the power and performance of entrepreneurial families comes from the relationships.

Our Unique Approach

IFE works at the intersection of self–family–entrepreneurship.

Self: We help students and individual family members explore their own personal growth through peer learning and mentorships.

Family: Our groundbreaking Amplifier course engages the next gen with their families, improving how they function as a family and empowering them to act entrepreneurially together.

Entrepreneurship: As the world’s #1 school for entrepreneurship, Babson equips students and families with cutting-edge knowledge as well as connections to a powerful global community, so families can create economic and social value across generations.

Family entrepreneurship is about the family, not just their business. It is how families can increase their capacity to function and act entrepreneurially together to create growth and positive impact across generations -- not necessarily tied to any one business.

Why Family Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurial families are one of the greatest forces for creating economic and social value on the planet. According to research, over 70% of the global GDP come from family businesses.

Family Entrepreneurship Stats

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