This spring, the Babson community gathered in Spain for the fourth annual Babson Connect: Worldwide (BCW), our global entrepreneurship summit. More than 400 alumni and friends from 48 countries and five continents came together in Madrid to connect and celebrate the transformative power of entrepreneurship.
The weekend featured an impressive collection of speakers, panelists, and international business leaders, facilitating thoughtful discussions and a lively exchange of ideas about the future of global enterprise and entrepreneurship. This year, we also were joined by 27 student ambassadors, including several of our incredible Global Scholars, who inspired us with their vision and ambition to create economic and social value everywhere.
One of the highlights of this year’s conference was the official launch of Babson’s Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, a new hub of teaching, research, and innovative programs dedicated to advancing entrepreneurial families around the world. An estimated 70 to 90 percent of annual global GDP is created by family businesses, according to the Family Firm Institute, and studies show that family businesses tend to be more socially responsible and focused on the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. The multigenerational survival of family enterprises is critical to global job creation, prosperity, and positive social impact.
When Babson was founded nearly 100 years ago, its primary focus was to educate the sons of businessmen—in 1919, Babson was all male—and prepare them to take over their family businesses. Since then, Babson has remained at the forefront of educating entrepreneurial families and conducting research and programming to help them achieve continued growth. Today, half of Babson’s students come from entrepreneurial families, and as we approach our Centennial, supporting family enterprises remains a key priority.
BCW also provided an opportunity to introduce Lauri Union, the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship’s new executive director, to the Babson community. Lauri has a long history of supporting entrepreneurial families and is known for the turnaround and sale of her family business after becoming its president and CEO when she was just 27. Under her direction, the Institute will continue Babson’s role as an innovator and leader for family entrepreneurship (for more, see Entrepreneurship Through the Generations).
During the past four years, BCW has grown and evolved into the world’s foremost gathering of entrepreneurial thinkers. I am excited to share that next year, as part of Babson’s Centennial celebrations, BCW will come home to Babson with events in and around Boston’s innovation ecosystem.
After a wonderful BCW experience (to see photos from Madrid, go to Connections), I’m happy to be back in Wellesley, enjoying a beautiful New England summer and preparing to welcome the Class of 2022 to campus this fall. I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing summer with family and friends, and I look forward to seeing you at Back to Babson in September.