IFE Research

Research at the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship

We dedicate our research efforts on applied research to explore the influence of entrepreneurial legacies within families, and the impact of family entrepreneurs on the global economy. We continually work on the forefront of the area of family entrepreneurship with research projeccts carried out by Babson faculty and experienced practitioners, including IFE Nulsen Family Executive Director Lauri Union.

Sponsored by the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, Babson’s newly formed Family Entrepreneurship Research Community is comprised of global entrepreneurial families who are interested in participating in our research on an ongoing basis. Community members participate in two short surveys per year and have exclusive access to our research results and findings before publication of the work. Additionally, members will receive exclusive invitations to special webinars and other events where our research faculty, led by Professors Bill Gartner and Matt Allen, will share and discuss the results along with implications for business families.

Our first survey was launched in July 2020 and it focused on understanding what business families are facing within their families, their businesses, and the market during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also interested in learning about the topics entrepreneurial families believe are of the most interest to them. All collected information will remain confidential and will be presented only at an aggregate level.  

We invite all entrepreneurial families to join this meaning project by completing the next survey to share their unique experience and learn from each other.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (​GEM) was initiated in 1999 as a joint venture of Babson College and the London Business School.

GEM, now a global consortium of over 500 researchers in its 20th year of operation, is the largest and most developed research program on entrepreneurship in the world, including data from 100+ economies.

In the latest 2020 report, the findings reveal that 75% of all startups are family businesses.

The U.S. GEM team, led by Babson's Governor Craig R. Benson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Julian Lange, collects comprehensive data and brings together top scholars from Babson College to analyze and report on the implications of the Adult Population Survey (APS) and the National Expert Survey (NES). The annual Babson-sponsored U.S. GEM report not only yields meaningful insights into American entrepreneurship, but also provides global and longitudinal analyses to allow comparisons with other economies and within the U.S. over time.


The STEP Project (Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices) is the first ongoing global research study focused on entrepreneurship in business families. Founded in 2005 by Babson College in collaboration with six academic affiliates in Europe, the STEP Project is a global applied research initiative that explores the entrepreneurial process within business families, and generates solutions that have immediate application for family leaders. The STEP Project studies the entrepreneurial activities of family enterprises over generations.

For further information please go to the STEP Project (Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices) website.

STEP Report

STEP 2019 Global Family Business Survey

New insights on changing demographics on family firms’ succession and governance from 1800+ surveys contributed to the STEP Survey.

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