About Us

As the unified voice of family enterprises in Canada, Family Enterprise Foundation (FEF) is a charitable organization focused on educational resources, research and sustainability of these family enterprises. FEF is closely associated with Family Enterprise Canada and the Family Enterprise Advisor designation program. It promotes the success and longevity of Canadian family-owned enterprises nationwide.

Family Enterprise Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to support, help and empower family enterprises to ensure their sustainability and harmony for generations to come.
Jim Burton Past Chair, Family Enterprise Foundation
Family Enterprise Foundation believes in inclusive learning, staying close to your roots both in values and legacy and creating supportive lines of communication for the success of the next generation.
Margaret-Jean Mannix Chair, Viridian Family Office and Chair of the Board, Family Enterprise Foundation
Our portal is an essential toolkit for business families, for their chief learning officers and thought-leaders who value lifelong learning, and who put into practice the long-term approaches to business for which family enterprises are renowned.
Olivier de Richoufftz General Secretary, Family Enterprise Foundation

Our Future

FEF’s overarching goal is to promote the long-term success of family enterprises through education and by facilitating a deeper understanding of their significance as economic drivers and stabilizing forces in every community across the country. As the voice of family enterprise, and leader in research, FEF seeks to develop educational tools and research to address the significant matters that family enterprises face with a view to enhancing their prospects for longevity. 

Our Present

Family Enterprise Foundation incorporated in 2020 following the merger of Business Families Foundation and Family Enterprise Canada Foundation. FEF’s mandate is to represent and support entrepreneurial families and their enterprises through the development of custom courses and learning tools, certification of Family Enterprise Advisors, support for research initiatives and collaborative projects with academic institutions worldwide.

Our Past

We were established over 30 years ago by Philippe and Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien whose experience of establishing a family-owned major media company encouraged them to reach out to other enterprising families - to support and empower “learning families” and help the economy to prosper. Based on this foundation, BFF has developed educational material via online learning, blended learning (mix of online learning and in-person activities led by a facilitator), and immersive learning experiences (in-depth, transformative, in-person learning).

Our history


Bringing families together for mind-stretching conversations defined by mutual trust is in FEF's DNA, so we created the annual Families Summit of Minds, supported by the quarterly Family Enterprise Barometer geared at “learning families”. FEF also joined the world movement of Family Businesses for Sustainable Development, wrote several case studies and produced the first family enterprise sustainability report. FEF also developed the first interactive map for intergenerational succession.


Building on the Foundation and network expertise, FEF has produced two white papers on Canadian Family Business Transition Intentions: Ready, Willing and Interested – or NOT? and Who are the Guardians of Family Legacy? In addition, and drawing on data from nearly 300 families, FEF released a report on Alchemy and the Family Enterprise, uncovering key insights to provoke discussion within business families.


The Family Enterprise Foundation was created in 2020 following the merger of the Business Families Foundation and Family Enterprise Canada Foundation, both of which have long and proud histories supporting and sustaining entrepreneurial families and their enterprises. With its close collaboration and affiliation with Family Enterprise Canada and the Family Enterprise Advisor designation program, FEF is in the service of family enterprises, and the family enterprise advisory and education community throughout Canada.


This year is a breath of fresh air for Business Families Foundation. It launches 3 new things: BFF Live webinars and podcasts, the Families Summit of Minds event, and a new and improved website.


The Business Families Foundation board of directors elect Margaret-Jean Mannix and Alex Adelaar as co-chairman of our Foundation in the fall of 2017.


Business Families Foundation launches The Intrapreneurial Initiative – A 16 week program designed to help re-energize family enterprises by empowering the rising generation to create something they are fit to lead.


From November 19-20, Business Families Foundation hosts the first ever Vision 2040 Think Tank, challenging experts, academics and families to look ahead 25 years in celebration of the foundation’s 25th anniversary.


Business Families Foundation welcomes a new President and begins producing short, interactive and relevant education by topic of interest accessible on the go through monthly subscription. In the fall of 2014, BFF hosts a second Family Business Academy in Montreal.


In this year, Business Families Foundation reaches learners in over 30 countries around the world and the BFF team grows internally. New course modules are developed and more partnerships are created with organizations that have the same interest in supporting the growth and harmonious success of family businesses worldwide. The first Hub was created in Asia and a BFF Academy hold in Singapore


Business Families Foundation hosts the first Family Business Academies in Montreal and Mexico City, bringing together people in a face-to-face learning context. Peer forums, speaker series and multiple day workshops result in powerful learning not only for business family members but also for advisors they work with.


The first Family Business course from Business Families Foundation is made available online. Users are able to access learning now anywhere they have an internet connection and can learn at their own pace while tracking their progress throughout.


In this year, Business Families Foundation helped establish the first non-Canadian business family centre at Universidad Virtual del Technologico de Monterrey, in Mexico. In collaboration with its new partner, BFF developed a course specifically designed for students and academics studying entrepreneurship or developing their understanding of the business family unit.


The Gaspe-Beaubien founders were also joined by other families in North America, Mexico and Asia that supported and helped shape the initiative, including the Mannix family, the Garza Laguera family and the Tanoto family. Thanks to their help the Family Business Fundamentals were developed in a unique learning format where theory met practical video case stories for families to interact and engage with throughout their learning.


For many years, Phillipe and Nan-b, along with their trust advisors and other family business experts interested in the field began developing a unique approach focused on enterprising families helping one another to discover techniques for achieving a sustainable business family unit. As a result, the first Family Business Roadmap was released.

Business Families Foundation began forming partnerships with universities throughout Canada to develop that helped develop training and educational programs and encouraging applied research in the under-explored field of family business.


Throughout the years, over business and during social occasions, Phillipe and Nan-b would share experiences with their peers, exchange ideas and coach each other through challenging situations. They decided to officially create a formal setting where business families could gain the help, support and encouragement they needed to stay focused, happy and harmonious generation after generation. Although the process had begun many years before, Phillipe and Nan-b officially initiated the Montreal Institute for Family Enterprise, which later in 1999 became Business Families Foundation.


It was in these years that Phillipe and Nan-b had the opportunity to reflect together on the business family unit and decided to become a “learning family”. Their children had each started to play a role in the business in different ways and the lines between family matters and business issues constantly seemed blurred. Although all the while a happy family, Phillipe and Nan-b realized that their business ventures might be unique, but the trials and tests they faced as a business family were incredibly similar to those of their peers.


This decade presented the de Gaspé Beaubien family with big changes as they took Telemedia public, and adapted to the business implications. The late 80’s also presented them with tough decisions on how to let their three children become involved with the company, when and under what circumstances.

Seeking solutions, they traveled the world to hear best practices in owning, running and transferring a family owned business.


His determination and perseverance continued to grow the strength of Telemedia in the Canadian communications industry. In the mid 70’s his wife, Nan-b, chose to leave her aspiring career in psychology to join her husband and support him in numerous roles.

Together, as a team they began to truly shape their dream of having a successful business that they would live and work passionately for, while providing for their children and loved-ones.


In the footstep of his predecessors, entrepreneurs for the past 3 centuries, Phillipe de Gaspé Beaubien took on the endeavor to own and run his own business after having been the director of the World Expo 67 in Montreal.

In the late 60’s he worked to position himself in the radio and television industry so that at first he had a piece of the ownership which would develop into an opportunity to own and operate Telemedia.

Internal Publications

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