Concerted International Small Business Policy: Unified Agenda Needed for a Sustainable Global Economy

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.

Experts from US, Italy, and Egypt in a panel discussion.

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.


Dr. Roberto Parente, Professor at Salerno University

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.


Dr. Luca Iandoli, Immediate Past President of ICSB

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.

Recap article – GW October 2016 Conference

Recap article – GW October 2016 Conference

Over 150 participants from 17 different countries attended the 7th GW October Annual Entrepreneurship Conference in Washington DC on October 13-14, 2016. Further, the World Bank Live stream hosted over 4,500 unique visitors and there were 284 mentions on social media with the hashtag #gwoctober. Overall, the conference generated >392,000 impressions. Top co’s: Egypt, Morocco and Brazil.

The theme of the conference was ‘Promoting SMEs to Drive Growth,’ and distinguished participants in attendance included The Honorable Maria Contreras-Sweet (Administrator of the US Small Business Administration (SBA)), Ms. Anabel González (Senior Director, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group), Dr. Luca Iandoli (President of the International Council for Small Business) and many more.

The focus of the opening plenary with Administrator Contreras-Sweet and Ms. González was The State of SME Policies and Support Programs. Administrator Contreras-Sweet started by welcoming all delegates to the conference on behalf of the United States and the Obama Administration, where she sits as the voice for small business. This conference brings merit to an important and timely discussion. With the advent of technology, we’ve seen new opportunities for entrepreneurs to participate in the global economy so it’s important that governments commit to creating policies and incentives that help small businesses navigate a borderless marketplace. Administrator Contreras-Sweet shared stories about her conversations with the Colombian Ambassador to the USA, the early failure of Walt Disney, SBA program’s Ban the Box and SBIC matching, as well as her experience with micro-entrepreneurs in Morocco and Colombia. She stressed the importance of passing trade agreements that speak to small business. Progress for the entrepreneur means keeping markets connected and for the first time there is an SME chapter in a global trade deal (TPP).

In closing, the Administrator reiterated her commitment to support the Global SME Day as proposed to the United Nations this past June at the ICSB 2016 World Conference.  SBA led a global meeting of ministerials in Milan and will partner with the Kauffman Foundation to host another in South Africa, demonstrating a commitment to meeting with counterparts in other countries to work together.

Ms. González addressed the conference next to share insights from her role as the Director of the World Bank Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, which includes over 500 employees involved in trade, investment, competition and innovation activities. The most important ask from governments in developing countries is around SME support. Ms. González shared a story from the Middle East which shed light on the challenges for SMEs that go beyond policies and regulations. SMEs are the backbone of developing countries, accounting for the core of innovation and growth, but some challenges are deeply rooted in culture. Some countries lack sufficient opportunities to grow with market and institutional failures that contribute to low managerial levels, restricted access to markets, and post-entry barriers. In today’s world, governments are asking for integrated and evidence based solutions that target entrepreneurship, early stage development and high-growth enterprises. They also want to learn from SME support programs in the USA, Singapore and South Korea among others.

The World Bank Group has Invested over $17 billion to support SMEs. Ms. González’s team identified four key areas for SME development; (1) fostering high-growth, (2) integrating value chains, (3) strengthening women led SMEs, and (4) harnessing technology and digital platforms. Their work with developing nations typically starts with an SME growth and productivity action plan, with intervention proposed at various stages of the life cycle. The results of these innovative SME support models are mixed with some gaps on lessons learned, but looked forward to fruitful discussion and insights from upcoming reports during the event.

The day’s next panel discussion focused on the topic of SME Policy Design and Evaluation: Insights From Research on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Winslow Sargeant (ICSB Vice President of Data and Policy and Former Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)) and Mary Hallward-Driemeier (Senior Economic Advisor at the World Bank Group) discussed how research can contribute to the design of national policy interventions as well as enable assessment of progress toward objectives. Both presenters shared lessons learned from regulatory environments and impact evaluations in supporting SME action plans. An important challenge is look at interventions that address underlying causes and not just symptoms.

After lunch, the conference featured two more panel discussions, focusing on The Role of High Growth Firms in Job Creation and Equitable Growth and Serving the Bottom of the Pyramid: Social and Humane Entrepreneurship. Donna Kelley (Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College and Board Member of the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA)), Kristin Schreiber (Director of the COSME Programme and SME policy at the European Commission), Denis Medved (Lead Economist at the World Bank Group) and George Solomon (Professor at The George Washington University and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Small Business Management (JSBM)) analyzed the key role played by SMEs in addressing important policy issues, such as reducing employment. Each presenter had some impressive statistics and findings to share from their respective organizations.

The day ended with a discussion about the growing support for social and humane entrepreneurship, rooted in the idea that sustainable business models must also aim to advance humanity and increase social inclusion. Ki-Chan Kim (Professor of Business Administration at The Catholic University of Korea and Immediate Past-President of the ICSB), Ahmed Shalaby (Managing Director of Tatweer Misr), Natalia Agapitova (Senior Program Officer at the World Bank Group) and Liesl A. Riddle (Associate Professor of International Business at The George Washington University (GWU)) provided the audience with real world examples of support for the bottom of the pyramid, including innovative research, community development projects, and innovative tools to bring inclusive and sustainable growth to the developing world.

The second day of the conference was hosted at The George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) and featured research presentations and workshops covering topics such as fostering entrepreneurship in rural areas and transition economies, developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, entrepreneurship and gender, supporting business incubators, accelerators and early stage funding, and social entrepreneurship.

Highlights presentations include:

  • Geographies of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Non-Farm Proprietorship Employment by U.S. Metropolitan Area
  • Establishing a Powerful Mentoring Program – MIT Venture Mentoring Service
  • Gender, Leadership and Venture Capital: Measuring women’s leadership in VC firm portfolios
  • Factors Affecting Gender Discrepancy in Entrepreneurial Activity
  • Korean Management Series: How Korea is Internally Revolutionizing How to Do Business
  • Social Entrepreneurship for SME Development: Insights from Three Decades of Third Sector Research

For more information, please visit, which includes links to the conference program, conference abstracts, the online proceedings and more.

The Way Forward: United States and South Korea at the 2015 GW October Conference

The Way Forward: United States and South Korea at the 2015 GW October Conference

Noise from the nation’s capital two weeks ago was not coming from the usual buzzing of busy traffic and construction, but rather from the humming of entrepreneurial innovation.

Convened at the 6th Annual GW October Conference at the George Washington University School of Business (“GWSB”) on Friday, October 16, 2015, an international delegation of policy makers, entrepreneurship practitioners, academicians, and MBA candidates met to discuss the role and future of entrepreneurial eco-systems in South Korea.

It comes with no coincidence that a few blocks down the street, South Korean President Park Geun-hye made her official visit to the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama – marking this the South Korean leader’s second official visit to Washington, D.C. since becoming president in 2013.

While the two heads of state met to discuss issues related to South Korea and United States economy, security, and world issues; commitment to a U.S.-South Korean alliance was ratified even further as presentations and discussions on small and medium-size business development and Korean management ensued a few blocks down the street at the GWSB.

GWSB’s primary partner for the conference, the International Council for Small Business (“ICSB”), is the first international membership institution of its kind, founded in 1955, to promote the growth and development of small business worldwide. The organization, which brings together educators, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners around the world, has aimed and successfully delivered on sharing knowledge and expertise in this field.

Standing before a diverse audience, Mr. Donald Manzullo, President and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute (“KEI”) led the Friday afternoon plenary session to explore the programs, prioritization methods, and key indicators used by leaders in the South Korean eco-system.

“At one time, knowledge was discovered. Now, it is invented.”

Dr. Manzullo’s statement resonated the importance of innovation and technology for the future of the country. South Korea has already developed 160 programs aimed at small business. Drawing in from his previous capacity as U.S. Member of Congress between 1993 and 2013 and Chairman of the Small Business Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Manzullo stressed the importance of government’s involvement in designing strategies to assist small and medium size businesses.

To compliment Mr. Manzullo’s statement, ICSB President Dr. Ki-Chan Kim, a South Korean national, painted a picture of South Korea’s evolvement from a country with GDP per capita of $80 in 1964 and a primary export of wigs to a country that boasts a GDP per capita of $26,205 in 2013 and a primary export of petroleum products. Tying into Mr. Manzullo’s statement that knowledge is now invented, Dr. Kim revealed the question that had formed in everyone’s mind – How could it be that a country without any natural resources – yet alone any petroleum – claim that petroleum products are its primary export?

The answer is interesting. Korea is an R&D paradox. It possesses high creativity but not as high productivity. This is Korean management, or K-Management. It is a country that has transformed itself at a remarkable level whereby special kinds of conglomerate firms that are purely unique to South Korea, called chaebols, dominate the economy and the world. Dr. Yoon-Shik Park, Professor of International Business at GWSB and Board Member of the KEI further elaborated on chaebol dominance and their extraordinary role in developing the modern day Korean business ecosystem that everyone had convened to discuss that day.

“To reach economies of scale,” Dr. Danny Leipziger, Professor of International Business and Managing Director of The Growth Dialogue, explained, “you need size.” “There is no great virtue in remaining small. The issue with scale is productivity.” The focus for small and medium-size business development should not be focused on promoting gazelles, or high-growth companies that are able to increase its revenues by at least 20% annually for four years or more, but should rather be focused on government policies to remove barriers to entry.

As members of the panel went on to voice their opinions of what South Korea would look like 25 years from today, the air grew heavier as business and entrepreneurial innovation precipitated in the lecture hall and GWSB once again demonstrated its pivotal role in establishing itself as a preeminent business school focused on innovation and business ethics.

Written by Dilara Bogut, Senior Project Manager, ICSB on October 23, 2015

Interview with tbs eFM Primetime on the Role and Goals of the International Council for Small Business

Interview with tbs eFM Primetime on the Role and Goals of the International Council for Small Business

In an interview with Seoul-based radio station tbs,
Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy, Executive Director of ICSB, a professor at George Washington University and the Director of Strategy of the Korean Management Institute ( recommended that South Korean small businesses find their own niche instead of trying to compete head-to-head with large Korean conglomerates.

Instead of focusing on competing over price, Dr. El Tarabishy suggests that South Korean small businesses focus on three components: speed, personalization, and convenience. Such traits are unique to small businesses in South Korea because of their ability to quickly make decisions with a personal customer touch, creating a different customer-business dynamic.

Chaebols, or large business conglomerates, dominate much of South Korean business. It is often difficult for small- and medium- enterprises to compete in such an environment, but the International Council for Small Business ( aims to support small businesses in both South Korea and other countries worldwide by providing resources to help business owners make informed decisions. Small businesses are a key to economic growth and recovery, with small- and medium enterprises employing 98% of the population.

As the United Nations plans its annual Sustainable Development Goals, ICSB is hoping the voice of small- and medium- enterprises are a key component in following through with these goals. The ICSB is planning to host its 61st annual meeting in New York and is working with the UN for joint activities.

Traffic Broadcasting System (tbs) is a major Korean broadcasting station in Seoul, South Korea. The interview aired on tbs’ English language station on a news segment called Primetime with Henry Shinn. The interview can be found in its entirety at

Spaces Still Available – USASBE Social Entrepreneurship Certificate

Spaces Still Available – USASBE Social Entrepreneurship Certificate

We are currently accepting new enrollees for the USASBE Social Entrepreneurship Certificate Program in Washington DC on October 15-16, 2015. Don’t miss out!

We are pleased to announce another opportunity for individuals interested in Social Entrepreneurship. USASBE will launch its seventh cohort in the Social Entrepreneurship Certificate Program this October at the GW Entrepreneurship Research and Policy Conference at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. (see

For this new cohort there are seven workshops (“Modules”) that, along with a written deliverable (course syllabus or social venture business plan), are required for completion of the Certificate Program.

The seven Modules are:

  1. Intro to Social Entrepreneurship
  2. Identifying and Assessing Social Entrepreneurship Opportunities
  3. Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship
  4. Dynamic Business Models
  5. Development of Business Plan and Funding
  6. Measuring Impact of Social Ventures
  7. Implementing the Social Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Modules 1, 2, and 3 will be offered in Washington, D.C. for new enrollees starting at the GW Conference in October. Module 1 will be presented in the morning and Module 2 in the afternoon of Thursday, October 15, and Module 3 presented in the morning of Friday, October 16. Participants in those Modules at GW will also have free admittance to the GW Conference (including event meals).

The new enrollees who take the first three Modules at the GW conference can then take Modules 4, 5 and 6 at the USASBE 2016 conference in San Diego, California. Module 4 will be presented in the morning and Module 5 in the afternoon of Friday, January 8, and Module 6 presented in the morning of Saturday, January 9. Module 7 (the final Module, which includes mini presentations by participants of 10 minutes) will be conducted by video conference, on a day a time to be mutually determined by the enrollees and the Certificate Program administrators.

Registration in the Certificate Program is open to interested individuals who are current members of USASBE or become members of USASBE in conjunction with enrolling in the Program. Enrollment in the Certificate Program requires payment of a $1,500 registration fee.

We hope to see in you at the GW Conference in Washington DC!

New Enrollees

(Option 1) Click here to register on the USASBE website

(Option 2) Click here to register on the GW October website

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Reminder: 2015 GW October Conference Submission Deadline is August 1

Reminder: 2015 GW October Conference Submission Deadline is August 1

Call for Papers
2015 GW October Entrepreneurship
Research & Policy Conference

*Submission Deadline: August 1, 2015*

The 2015 GW October Conference will be held October 15-16, 2015 in Washington, D.C. and will explore the theme Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Understanding, Building, Implementing.

Throughout the conference we will explore the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems – identifying key stakeholders and how to facilitate collaborate for success. We will also explore specific regions of the world that are pioneering growth in entrepreneurial ecosystems, specifically South Korea.

Call for Papers

We invite authors to submit work that compares and contrasts aspects of entrepreneurial ecosystems and allows for a high level of small business success within international regions and communities. Proposals should outline the impact their research has on the industry as well as implications for policy makers that deal directly or indirectly with:

  • Entrepreneurship & Economic Growth
  • Public Policy
  • Academic Research and it’s Applicability to Practice
  • Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies
  • Soci(et)al Entrepreneurship
  • Gender and Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial Skill Development

Click here for the full Call for Papers >

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2015

Submit @

Call for Reviewers

We are looking for committed individuals to serve as reviewers for the 2015 GW October Conference. You will be recognized in the conference program for your work. If you are interested in joining the program team, please complete the online sign-up sheet before Friday, June 24th, 2015 and we will follow-up with you directly with more information.

The 2015 GW October Conference will feature…

  • Specialized certificate training programs facilitated by The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)
  • A focused panel on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Korea
  • State-of-the-art research and policy presentations from delegates impacting entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world
  • A gala awards dinner that will recognize an individual or organization that provides extraordinary support for entrepreneurs and small business enterprises

GW October Partners