Utilizing Entrepreneurship To Propel Organizations Across Generations
Matt R. Allen is an Associate Professor in the Entrepreneurship Division, Faculty Director for the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, and Academic Director for the Global Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project.
We can’t celebrate the great news about the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business’s 24th consecutive year as the No. 1 school in entrepreneurship education without a nod to the students from family businesses and the business families they represent.
With roughly half of Babson students coming from a family business background, family businesses form one of the foundations upon which Babson is built.
For years Babson College has touted its focus on Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. One form of entrepreneurship that is only recently beginning to get the credit it deserves is what we at Babson like to refer to as “Family Entrepreneurship”.
Family Entrepreneurship can be defined as entrepreneurial activity pursued not by individuals, but by enterprising families. Often, the entrepreneurial activity of these families is seen only in the family businesses they have founded and represent.
These businesses are no minor endeavor: representing over 80% of businesses globally and accounting for a significant portion of economic activity, they utilize entrepreneurship to propel their organizations across generations. However, these businesses, while impressive on their own, are only a portion of what enterprising families are doing with Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®.
Many business-owning families own not just one, but multiple family businesses. Besides these businesses, families are engaged in philanthropic activities through family foundations and family-run charities. In developing economies, business families provide stability and structure, sometimes beyond even what governments are able to provide.
Furthermore, next generation members of these enterprising families often leverage the knowledge, experience and resources from their families to found new organizations. Indeed, even entrepreneurs not coming from established family businesses still look to family ties for advice and capital as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
Clearly, the role of the family in entrepreneurial activity cannot be overestimated. Babson College is proud of its recognition as the No. 1 school of entrepreneurship education, but perhaps even more proud to be using its resources and experience to educate the next generation of enterprising families.