For Ernesto Bertarelli ’89, family entrepreneurship is less about the business itself and more about the family and its dynamics.
His vision and his experience—as a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist who currently runs B-FLEXION and, with his sister and mother, the Bertarelli Foundation—have inspired and driven Babson College to advance the field of family entrepreneurship.
Bertarelli returned to Babson’s Wellesley campus Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Ralph Z. and Charlotte R. Sorenson Atrium at Babson Commons to formally dedicate the Bertarelli Institute for Family Entrepreneurship and to celebrate his and his family’s generous commitment and support of Babson.
“Even though I haven’t stepped foot on campus for quite some time, my heart has never left,” Bertarelli said. “Babson really prepared me for what was to come.”
In his remarks, Bertarelli spoke about Babson’s impact on him and his transition as the third generation of his family’s pharmaceutical business. “We were in some ways fortunate that our transition was forced,” he said. “Because of all the things I’ve learned at Babson, the one thing I was not prepared for was the dynamics that can exist between family members.”
Bertarelli, who received the inaugural Babson-Camus Global Family Entrepreneurship Award last year, specifically credited Lauri Union, the Nulsen Family Executive Director of the Bertarelli Institute, for understanding and promoting that importance in family entrepreneurship. “I thank you, Lauri, because you’re basically the reason why we are opening this institute today,” he said.
President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD also emphasized the institute’s focus on family relationships, thanks to Bertarelli’s transformational gift. “It is about families’ perspectives and growth and the opportunities they pursue together,” he said. “We want this work to be sustainable, innovative, and far-reaching, and Ernesto’s vision and support is essential to making that happen. It allows us to invest in programming and research and make an impact on entrepreneurial families well into the future.”
Bertarelli, who was inducted into Babson’s Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs® in 2008, emphasized the critical role that the Bertarelli Institute can play in advancing Babson’s entrepreneurial reputation.
“Now, with this institute, you have the possibility to … continue to lead in entrepreneurship, adding another layer to what you’ve done so well for me,” he said. “So, thank you very much for your time, patience and dedication in teaching me a few things that were very useful.”
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