BFF began as the answer to a question: where can I get information and assistance for my family business? Twenty years ago, that answer would have been unclear. Now, after two decades of hard work, there is a growing body of knowledge and resources to help business families, although much more needs to be done and sustained.
BFF developed in distinct phases:
Phase I (1990–2000): Initial Field Work & Awareness Building
BFF’s founders engaged in extensive research to discover that little resources were available for themselves and what, if any, support was out there. They discovered that, not only were there very few answers available, but very few people were asking the needed, detailed questions. BFF helped drive change and fuel research and education into the crucial questions.
Phase II (2000–2010): Educational Material Development & Dissemination
BFF invested significant resources to develop a unique approach to helping families in business – an approach focused on entrepreneurial families helping one another to discover and learn techniques for achieving success and harmony as a business family.
BFF formed partnerships with universities in Canada and the United States to deliver the new training and educational programs, and to continue encouraging applied research in this important field of study. The Centres for Family Enterprises are crucial institutions to the ongoing support to business families.
Phase III (2010-2020): Extended Knowledge Development, Distribution and Internationalization
In its third phase, BFF focuses its energies on realizing the goals of the Three Pillars: growing the international network of educational centres and assist them in working together; continued development of high-quality, powerful educational experiences and continuing to improve access to trained facilitators and professionals.
How it all started...
The Business Families Foundation (BFF) evolved from a simple invitation to conversation during a long ocean journey.
BFF’s co-founders, Philippe and Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien posted a note in the ship’s dining room: “If anybody would like to talk about the key issues facing business families, come to the dining room at ten o’clock.”
Philippe and Nan-b expected that, perhaps, eight or nine people would drop in for the discussion. They were wrong. More than one hundred people were packed into the ship’s dining room, all of them looking for answers.