The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Journey

Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Tuesday, June 1, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

Many people aspire to be an entrepreneur. But most do not really know what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Before you embark on the entrepreneurial journey you will need to seriously reflect on whether or not the journey is right for you and whether or not you are ready for the journey. Many experts suggest there are distinctive personal characteristics that are required to be a successful entrepreneur. Some have described this as the “entrepreneurial mindset.” There has been an age old debate as to whether an entrepreneur is born or is made. My research shows it is a bit of both – the classic nature and nurture phenomena. One thing is for sure, the entrepreneur is different from the non-entrepreneur. Less than 10 percent of our population are entrepreneurs, so they make up a unique niche within the population. So, what makes them different? And, do you have what it takes to become part of this special group of people?


My research shows that successful entrepreneurs share several key personal attributes that are necessary for the entrepreneurial journey. What I want you to do now is to be honest with yourself and reflect on whether you possess these key attributes and/or would be willing to acquire them? These attributes are: (1) dispositional optimism – the most important attribute – (2) persistence, (3) resilience, (4) work ethic, and (5) adaptive.


Dispositional optimism is a mindset that focuses on abundance not scarcity; that good things can and will happen; that one can achieve his/her objectives; and the glass is half-full and not half-empty. All successful entrepreneurs I have studied are extremely optimistic in life and in business. And, I suggest it is the most important attribute an entrepreneur can possess. In fact, it is an antecedent as to why entrepreneurs are persistent, resilient and work so hard. They did so because they believe positive outcomes can be achieved. Why would an entrepreneur work 100 hours a week to start and to grow an enterprise if they thought they would fail? Well, they don’t believe they will fail. And, contrary to belief successful entrepreneurs do not throw caution to the wind, they do not take excessive risk and they do not adhere to the fate, chance, luck or magic model of business. Successful entrepreneurs engage in calculated risk-taking using information to recognize, discover or create new business opportunities. And, entrepreneurs are adaptive. They flex and pivot given evolving conditions and situations around them. Sometimes best laid plans have to change!


Before you start the entrepreneurial journey you are going to have to do a head, heart and gut check – an honest check. If you get positive confirmation from all three realms of your being, then you probably ready for the entrepreneurial journey. It will be difficult and challenging but, more importantly, very rewarding and satisfying. But, this is just the beginning of your journey! In the articles that follow this one I will discuss the importance of the right opportunity, the right business model, the right brand and the right go-to-market strategy. This are all key elements that must be mastered on your own entrepreneurial journey.


Frederick Crane serves as a Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).


Dr. Crane is an Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the College of Business at Northeastern University; Former Editor of the Journal of the Academy of Business Education; and co-founder of Ceilidh Insights LLC – an innovation management training, intellectual property consulting and consumer insight company. He was formerly a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of New Hampshire and a Chair and Full professor at Dalhousie University.


At Northeastern, he developed the graduate new venture creation course; the undergraduate innovation course – which is now taught campus-wide; and developed the online MBA course on innovation and enterprise growth. He also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Every semester at least one of his teams from his new venture creation course goes on to commercialize a business.

Citation of Article:

Crane, F. (2021, June 1). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset. The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette.

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Tuesday, May 18, 2021, by Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka


There are numerous investment options for traditional investment classes, such as real estate, precious metals, equity investments, fixed-income securities and cash. However, over the past few years, investors worldwide have witnessed a rapidly evolving alternative finance landscape. Cryptocurrencies or altcoins receive close attention from investors who are captivated by tremendous growth opportunities and fast and easy options to invest in them.


There are hundreds of different crypto exchanges around the world, each offering opportunities to buy cryptocurrencies. The majority of the exchanges have user-friendly mobile interfaces making it very easy to invest, but not all exchanges are trustworthy. When choosing a crypto exchange, it is important to compare many features such as costs, limits on withdrawing coins, lists of alternative currencies, transaction speed, trading volumes, and check if you as a user can control your digital wallet keys where your digital tokens/coins are stored. Crypto exchanges can be classified into centralised and decentralised. All centralised crypto exchanges follow the “Know Your Customer” registration process, which requires formal identification for all clients. These exchanges run their transactions on their private server and typically provide some level of insurance to protect their users if their system fails. Thus, it is essential to ask about your insurance coverage and, most notably, the amount of insurance. Decentralised exchanges do not have a central authority, and each computer inside the network is part of the server. Due to their decentralised status, they are not under specific monitoring of any regulatory body.


The security and safety of digital cryptocurrency tokens remain as significant concerns. Purchased cryptocurrency tokens need to be stored in a secure location. Numerous retail and institutional custodians provide services for storing your cryptocurrencies in a secure online wallet. You can also keep your digital cryptocurrencies on external devices and print keys on paper and store them physically in a safe box. However, some cryptocurrencies exchanges do not allow users to control their digital wallets.  It is necessary to understand the risk and return relationship in cryptocurrencies trading. The markets are speculative and highly volatile, so it is essential to do your research and remember you can rapidly lose your investments. It is crucial to check your tax implications for capital gains and losses when trading cryptocurrencies.


As one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is classified as a store of value coin, also known as “Digital Gold” among cryptocurrencies. The widespread Blockchain adoption was linked to Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. Bitcoin is differentiated from other cryptocurrencies by having a fixed supply of 21 million tokens which can be mined.


Recently, concerns were raised in relation to the Bitcoin network’s energy consumption as miners are continuously running computers to solve complex algorithms/puzzles to discover a new block. Once a new block is mined, the miners are rewarded with bitcoins. The University of Cambridge’s Centre for Alternative Finance has introduced the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, which shows that the yearly electricity consumption is 150.04-terawatt hours, which is expected to grow further. Interestingly, the amount of electricity consumed by the Bitcoin coin in one single year is sufficient to provide power to all kettles used to boil water for Europe and the UK for 5 years and meet the University of Cambridge’s energy needs for 853 years.


Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka is Global Certificates Manager at ICSB, a Higher Degree by Research Supervisor at Excelsia College and Adjunct Academic at the University of Technology  Sydney, Australia. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka held teaching and senior academic management positions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and Australia. She specialised in general investments, personal and corporate superannuation investments while working for Westpac Banking Corporation and BT Financial Group in Australia. She was invited to join The Housing Connection, a not-for-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia as Treasurer and Board Member from November 2019. Her research interests include entrepreneurial finance, traditional and alternative ways to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate finance, policies for the small business sector, innovation and SMEs, FinTechs and Blockchain. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka is the Associate Editor for the Journal of the International Council for Small Business (JICSB). 

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Monday, May 3, 2021, by Ruth Dwyer


Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

– Marie Curie

Problem: Depression—lack of early detection leads to lost potential for individuals and society.

New Tech Implications:

  • Developments in sound recognition is promising for early diagnosis.
  • Telemedicine provides a convenient way for many patients to receive care that they would not otherwise engage with.

Change Hypotheses:

  • New technology available to help people self-diagnose mental illnesses virtually
  • Help doctors diagnose during visits
  • Increased publicity on how to treat early
  • New medications


  • Everyone will have depression and anxiety diagnosed at its earliest stage
  • Increased healthy lifestyles
  • Decreased substance use
  • Increased productivity for the world

Marie Curie’s quote shown above points to so many truths. Today, I would like us to think about how the stigma attached to depression keeps us from knowing more about it. This lack of insight into an individual’s pain not only creates a bigger problem for that person, but also a big problem for the world.

Depression affects over 300 million people suffering from depression worldwide. Almost 800,000 people die by suicide a year*, AND IF treated early 80% and 90% of people with depression respond quickly to treatment and gain some relief from their symptoms within 4-6 weeks on a medication and/or therapy regimen**

Challenge Questions- What can we do?

Start at home:

  • Early detection
  • Ask these questions of yourselves and share them with you family/friends.
    • How are you feeling? When was the last time you went outside? Had fun?
    • Are you eating and sleeping regularly?
    • How do you feel about yourself? do you ever feel like hurting yourself?
    • How are things going with your friends?  Do you ever think they would be better off without you?

If these questions prompt a yes, please do not ignore them. Rather, look for information from trusted sources on the internet, talk to your doctor, a counselor, or call a helpline, and be sure you are safe.

Reflect more on safety with these questions:

  • What medications do you have in your house? Who can get to them?
  • Is there anything else in your home that could be used for self-harm?

Think local:

  • How are you, your family, and friends doing?
  • Is there someone who you have not heard from recently
  • If you have a business, where are our employee pain points?
  • Is there a way you can add- healthy habits into the workday?
  • Is there a way of serving customers that improves their social interaction/lifestyle?
  • Are there ways it can be modified to fit more or different needs?
  • Is it possible that the person that drives you nuts is driving you nuts due to a mental health concern? If so, how can you modify your interactions with them, to improve things?
  • Is there an appropriate place to post a hotline number for people to see?

Go Global:

  • How do you interact with the wider world?
  • Could you post a message of encouragement during National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week (May 18-23)?
  • Where are your financial investments?  Does your portfolio reflect your beliefs in how to promote a healthy lifestyle?

My response to the challenge:

Over the years, I cannot count the number of children I’ve know whose lives have been affected by a family member’s depression, anxiety, or their evil triplet substance use. It is a problem that is almost always more convenient not to deal with in the short term. Like many things, however, ignoring it makes it worse. In fact, this is true more for depression than most of the medical illnesses I’ve helped treat.

As we enter the spring of our year with COVID, take stock of yourselves and those you know.  Seek help if you are currently worried about someone in your circle. I do not have an answer for coping with the devastation in any of your personal lives that depression and substance use have produced other than to again encourage you to find the energy and courage needed to seek professional help as needed.

My dream for how to impact depression and anxiety is both smaller and larger. It is smaller because I dream of minimizing its effects through early detection. It is larger because before people will accept a diagnosis or seek treatment any stigma associated with it must be eradicated. Larger, because attitudes are hard to change. As with most things the answers lay within each of us. I encourage you to become informed and challenge any assumptions you hold that do not fit the facts, or the kind of person you want to be.

The world has big problems, and everyone is needed to re-imagine solutions that meet the needs these problems create. We can’t move forward if we do not understand what forward looks like. Please help by sharing this post and engaging below.

I look forward to our conversation,

Ruth Dwyer, MD, FAAP


– Did you know April is stress awareness month?  Or that Depression Awareness Week is May 18-23? (As a student, this seems especially well placed for me, if only I had time to acknowledge it:)

– Did you know that in the US on the last Saturday in April The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been hosting the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day each year since 2010? (if you missed it this month- don’t stress over it they will do it again next October.)*. This is a great way to decrease people’s access to something that could be deadly. –It is especially important to think about if you have a teenager, they share.


* Torres, Felix. “What Is Depression?” American Psychiatric Association, 2020,

**Bach, Natasha. “World Mental Health Day 2017: Illness in the Workplace Is More Common Than You Might Think.” Fortune, World Health Organization, 10 Oct. 2017,


Ruth Dwyer

Ruth Dwyer

Senior Project Manager

Dr. Ruth Dwyer. MD,  serves as the Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Pivoting pediatrician interested in social entrepreneurship, small businesses, and the SDGs. Ruth has worked on numerous medical startups. She enjoys painting, playing games, shooting hoops, and time with my family.

AACSB and Entrepreneurship: How An Accreditation Association is Paving a New Path Forward

AACSB and Entrepreneurship: How An Accreditation Association is Paving a New Path Forward

AACSB and Entrepreneurship: How An Accreditation Association is Paving a New Path Forward

By: Ayman El Tarabishy, President & CEO, ICSB

Leonardo da Vinci once famously wrote, “To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” The polymath innovator was able to see in the 16th century what many in the 21st are just now learning: nothing in this world exists in a vacuum. We are all a part of a larger community with a duty to lean on each other in times of need. Where one of us fails, we all fail. Where one of us succeeds, we all succeed. If we want to drive forward progress, we have to all work together towards a common goal.



It is precisely this concept of a common goal and the interconnectedness of everything that led the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) to rethink, reinvent, and redesign their Business Accreditation Standards in 2020. Inspired by the motto to be a force for good in society, the team at AACSB––led by president and CEO Caryn Beck-Dudley––pulled inspiration from the world around them through this process. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic that turned the world as we knew it into something blurred and distorted, there was ample opportunity to construct new standards that would create a more precise, stronger future filled with a new generation of leaders encouraged to be the change they wish to see in the world.



At the 7th Annual California Entrepreneur Educators Conference (CEEC), Beck-Dudley opened the conference on da Vinci’s birthday with a keynote address that laid out exactly how the new standards were devised, signifying a change in how business schools would move into the future. Thinking about everything on a global scale, AACSB has accepted the responsibility of preparing the next generation of leaders to help societies grow around the globe. Whereas the old standards emphasized “hard” skills, including learning theory behind business practices, analyzing case studies, and researching data, the new standards are principles-based and outcomes-focused. In other words, they have been led by the concept of being proactive rather than reactive, finding upstream solutions to address a problem at its source, and pivoting to where a situation warrants through agility.



Keeping in the spirit of lifelong learning, AACSB redesigned the guidelines to let each business school shine in the light of their mission, visions, and values. Beck-Dudley emphasized that they needed to change the perception that the former standards were highly prescriptive. The team tackled this challenge by creating guidelines that empower entrepreneurship educators to have maximum impact on the greater good of society through creative means unique to their available resources. While deviations from the AACSB standards were discouraged in the past, that is not the case anymore. Today, ingenuity and agility are highly encouraged. Essentially, by leading with new guidelines, as opposed to strict standards, the schools have more room for creativity, innovation, and a pioneering spirit in hopes that new generations of entrepreneurs can feel supported as they learn through experience and not through theory alone. With these new standards, business schools will have more creative freedom within their programs, act with integrity based on guidelines rather than strict rules, and see the potential in and encourage entrepreneurial thinking that could change the world.



In addition to sharing the updated guidelines in her keynote, Beck-Dudley emphasized two significant behavioral changes needed for how the universities and their faculty operate. First, tying into the concept of everything in the world is inextricably linked. Business schools need to partner with other departments to solve the issues that lie before them. Suppose everyone stays solely in their respective lanes and forgets to communicate with one another. In that case, we will miss out on the essential collaboration and idea-generating results from considering a wide array of perspectives. Not only is it imperative that we share resources and ideas, but we also need to share our failures so that we can all learn from our mistakes, Beck-Dudley noted.



Furthermore, Beck-Dudley highlighted the importance of the older generations being open to change, as well. She discussed how the younger scholars in entrepreneurship are open to innovation and creative solutions. Still, it can sometimes be difficult for more established professors and researchers to do the same. In her own life, Beck-Dudley had to confront how she was resistant to change, as well. Hence, she empathizes with the reticence even while serving as proof that you can be an expert in your field and not only be open to new ways of thinking but eventually pave the way forward for future generations.



In many ways, the new AACSB Business Accreditation Standards embody the spirit of all that Humane Entrepreneurship represents. By seeing the new generation of business students and future entrepreneurs as whole human beings, by leading with empathy and other “soft” skills, we can change the way the world operates by focusing on the community as a whole. To complement this, Beck-Dudley shared feedback from test schools that first received the new standards. By being caring and genuine, with the best intentions in mind, the schools felt supported and optimistic about their futures, not to mention energized to find solutions to the challenges they faced.



By seeing the value in the entire business program, made up of unique and multifaceted beings with enormous potential, AACSB has demonstrated how important it is to give entrepreneurs the skills they need to flourish and not act as yet another limitation greatness that is human innovation. Meanwhile, the pandemic has proven that everything is connected, more than we ever thought possible before. We need to honor that and move into the future together, developing our business schools and our newest entrepreneurs and leaders accordingly. 



After all, Beck-Dudley posed the question in her keynote address, “If we’re not making a positive impact, what are we doing with our time?”

Certificate Program for Educators

Certificate Program for Educators

Certificate Program for Educators

Monday, April 26, 2021


Certificate Program for Educators

We are excited to launch our new certificate program- dedicated specifically for educators. The main goal of the program is to help educators – like yourself – to successfully teach the Market Opportunity Navigator and apply it in various educational settings: from accredited courses to practitioners’ bootcamps, for students, entrepreneurs, and business managers.

Learn directly from the tool’s creators:

  • Master the Market Opportunity Navigator – through real, hands-on practice
  • Design a well structured curriculum- for classroom teaching and practical workshops
  • Get acquainted with all our ready-made teaching materials- so implementation becomes easy
  • Join a lively community of like-minded educators

Who is this for?

  • Educators in entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing and strategic management courses
  • Program managers in accelerators and entrepreneurship centers
  • Trainers of innovation managers in larger organization

Signup today

  • The four interactive sessions will run online from May 4th- May 25, 2021
  • The program is limited to 20 participants

Click here to learn more and register:

We look forward to seeing you in this program and helping you succeed with your teaching.


Dr Sharon Tal and Prof Marc Gruber
Co-creators of the Market Opportunity Navigator
Co-authors of the book “Where to Play”