Concerted International Small Business Policy: Unified Agenda Needed for a Sustainable Global Economy
Last week, world experts gathered in Washington DC at the George Washington University for the 8th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Research and Policy Conference to engage in a much-needed dialogue centered around global entrepreneurship. This group of experts composed of leaders from the United States, Korea, Canada, Italy, China, Argentina, Egypt, and the United Nations were united in their support for Micro-, Small-, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated in their recent scorecard for SMEs, there is solid evidence for the need to improve SME policy making. We must advance the workforce not only in America, but in nations across the world to create jobs for Industrial Revolution 4.0—careers that can survive recent and continuing technological advances. One unified message that transcended borders on campus last week was the need for humane entrepreneurship and the desire for a global guide for prosperous MSME development.
According to the Korean delegation, Professors Zong Tae Bae (professor of KAIST University), Ki-Chan Kim (professor at Catholic University), and Former Minister of Small and Medium Business Administration for the Republic of Korea Young-Sup Joo, humane entrepreneurship and a creative economy will be the cornerstone of the next generation of entrepreneurship. Humane entrepreneurship (HE) is the melding of both the Human Cycle and the Business Cycle. The need for equity, empowerment, and enabling of the human while also creating an entrepreneurial environment which includes innovation, risk taking, and being proactive. Both require commitment to the employee and innovation for business success. However, regardless of where they were from, the people in the room believed the most valuable element for business development was the devotion to the employee. In addition, Korea is already focusing on SME development through a creative economy. Former SME Minister Young-Sup Joo illustrated how they are nurturing SMEs to develop their creative economy through high quality jobs and admired companies to name a few, but he went on to say that it will take global cooperation and inter-governmental efforts to reach the utmost success.
While the Korean delegation focused on the human and enterprise cycles, the Italian representatives believe that lawmakers must take this analysis one step further as presented by Dr. Roberto Parente (professor from Salerno University). While we nurture the employee, while we support innovation and business profits, we must also make a commitment both inside the company and outside the company. Policies should support the people, the business and the ecosystem. As an employee is committed to the business, the business makes a commitment to their environment. Then, the bionetwork will help society and nurture the business which will then compensate the employee. They believe this circle of give-and-take will lead to a prosperous global economy. In summation, the company should manage inside and outside the organization—profit, people, and planet.
Whether it was discussing industrial automation, trade-offs and benefits of different small business policy, women and entrepreneurship or even entrepreneurial coursework all of this dialogue was a product of the 8th annual George Washington University Entrepreneurship Conference. The annual entrepreneurship conference continued the current worldwide conversation between the public and private sectors as well as academia regarding the need for not only a robust global economy, but one that treats employees with dignity and respect.
The conference also highlighted the Giffoni Film Festival, which is a case study for humane entrepreneurship through the arts and humanities involving the youth of the world. A film festival, ranked number one by social networking standards, has touched more than 500,000 children over nearly five decades illustrating the importance of creating a business model that brings wealth to a community and also educates our young minds. Giffoni brings children from over fifty countries together and teaches them to look beyond their differences and accept each other. Other individuals recognized on behalf of their work for the small business community included Former Minister of Small and Medium Business Administration for the Republic of Korea Young-Sup Joo, who was instrumental in the formalization of UN MSME Name Day, and Professor George Solomon, a life-long academic professional specializing in entrepreneurship and small business management.
At the end of every conference, there should always be a take-away or the “what’s next?” The Republic of Korea has their opinions on how to advance the global economy, the Italians have their viewpoint on what to do to keep our world vibrant, now, all of us need to make sure this information is getting into the right hands. We want to continue the conversation about the importance of humane entrepreneurship, but we also want to highlight the need for guiding principles for Micro-, Small and Medium-sized enterprises worldwide. As we have said before, a unified front, a global strategy, a worldwide effort will ensure that all countries are prepared for the Industrial Revolution 4.0.
However, it is going to take the support of many nations to ensure the correct course of action is taken. A concerted effort will enable the world to fulfill the growing global workforce, the 600 million jobs gap that will be created in the next fifteen years according to the World Bank. Today, ICSB calls on the United Nations General Assembly to not only recognize MSMEs on their Name Day, but also, help nations work together to build the global policy framework necessary for sound small business development worldwide.
Dr. El Tarabishy is the Executive Director of ICSB and a Teaching Professor of Management at the George Washington University’s School of Business.
Dr. Sargeant is the Senior Vice-President of Development and Advocacy with ICSB and previously served as Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The International Council for Small Business (ICSB) is a non-profit organization devoted to continuing management education for entrepreneurs and small business. The ICSB is a co-author of the resolution for United Nations MSME Day.