Put business and family together, and you have a powerful mix. In fact, family enterprise forms the backbone of the Canadian economy, with families owning or controlling an estimated 80 per cent of all businesses.

But here is the problem few people understand: the fundamental principles applied to most businesses simply do not address the unique issues that confront modern business families—not their distinct business challenges, and certainly not the interpersonal dynamics that families inevitably face.

One of the things UBC’s Sauder School of Business learned from working with family enterprise for more than a decade is that there is a shortage of specially-skilled advisors. In a search for a solution to this challenge, they pioneered a new field of study aimed at advisors working with entrepreneurial families.

The FAMILY ENTERPRISE ADVISOR™ Program targets accountants, lawyers, bankers, financial planners, therapists, coaches and facilitators—augmenting their technical skills with a deeper understanding of business families and the unique issues they face. The program puts advisors on track to receiving the FAMILY ENTERPRISE ADVISOR™(FEA) accreditation—the only designation that specializes in Family Enterprise Advising.

My completion of The FAMILY ENTERPRISE ADVISOR™ Program has highlighted the need for a multi-disciplinary team to assist families in navigating these challenges. The program has enhanced my understanding of these unique issues and offered great insights into working with a team of professionals in providing guidance for multiple generations of entrepreneurial families.