ICSB and Airtifae Global Services - Promoting Global SMEs Trade

The International Council for Small Business, in conjunction with Airtifae Global Services, will host the 10×10 Program during ICSB’s 2023 World Congress in South Korea, July 9-14. This program promotes trade between small- and medium-sized businesses from the United States and other countries. To do so, ICSB, in collaboration with Airtifae Global Services, aims to explain and counsel SME companies on expanding their operations internationally by ensuring a strategic plan to understand the market, identify key partners and opportunities, and utilize capital.

Following ICSB’s vision to promote the growth and development of SMEs internationally, Airtifae Global Services has partnered with us to provide SMEs with in-depth knowledge and guidance to “go global” and how this initiative will impact the local economy.

This program will detail the following themes:

  • Best Practices in International Trade

Overview of the importance of FDI and Export, how to take your business to the next level by expanding internationally, and case studies on successful local business expansions.

  • Identifying Local Partners to Enter the Market

Understanding the role that Chambers of Commerce, additional stakeholders, and local business networks play in an ecosystem to utilize their member businesses to identify the right partner to enter the market through investment, partnership, or joint venture. Also, exploring contract procurement through federal and local government to expand presence.

  • Business Financing

Understanding what funds are available from federal and local government partners to maintain your presence and expand operations.

  • International Readiness Training

How to build an international business and export plan and why it’s essential to conduct market research to understand what market is best suited for your operations and become educated on how to successfully expand your operations to the target market.

The mission of Airtifae Global Services is to work with countries, states, economic development offices, and chambers of commerce to create a market-focused strategy for their international business initiatives to diversify and enhance the local economy and further support their businesses to expand internationally. This includes the development of an FDI and export strategy, international market research, trade missions, the development of strategic partnerships and alliances, and international readiness training courses.



United Nations MSMEs DAY - June 27

The United Nations Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day is an annual event celebrated on June 27th. The day was created to recognize MSMEs’ critical role in driving economic growth and creating jobs worldwide. In addition, it is an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges MSMEs face and encourage governments, policymakers, and stakeholders to take action to support them.

MSMEs are the backbone of many economies, providing employment and contributing to GDP. However, they often face significant challenges like limited finance, markets, and technology access. Therefore, supporting MSMEs is crucial to creating a more inclusive and sustainable global economy.

In collaboration with Argentina, the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) created the UN MSMEs Day. In 2017, the ICSB proposed the idea of a dedicated day to recognize the contribution of MSMEs and the challenges they face. The UN General Assembly adopted the proposal in April 2017, and since then, the day has been celebrated annually on June 27th. Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy, President & CEO of ICSB and Deputy Chair of the Department of Management at the George Washington University School of Business proposed the idea.

ICSB continues to play a crucial role in promoting policies and initiatives that support MSMEs. As a global organization dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship and small business, the ICSB works closely with governments, academia, and industry to identify and address the needs of MSMEs. Through its research, advocacy, and education efforts, the ICSB is helping to create a more supportive environment for MSMEs worldwide.

The UN MSMEs Day is a significant opportunity to highlight the challenges that MSMEs face and call attention to the need for policies and programs that support their growth and development. Here are some examples of initiatives from around the world that are working to support MSMEs:

South Africa’s National Small Business Act: The South African government has implemented various policies and programs to support MSMEs, including the National Small Business Act, which aims to create a supportive regulatory environment for small businesses. The Act provides for establishing a Small Business Council, which advises the government on policies and initiatives to support small businesses.

India’s Startup India program: In 2016, the Indian government launched the Startup India program to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. The program offers a range of incentives and support, including tax breaks, funding, and mentorship, to help startups and MSMEs grow and succeed.

Germany’s Mittelstand: Germany’s “Mittelstand” refers to the country’s network of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of the country’s economy. The German government has implemented various policies to support the Mittelstand, including access to finance, education, training, and research and innovation support.

United States Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA is a US government agency that supports small businesses through loans, training, and counseling services. The SBA also advocates for small businesses at the national level, ensuring that policies and regulations support small business growth and development.


These are just a few examples of the many initiatives and programs worldwide that are working to support MSMEs. The UN MSMEs Day provides a valuable opportunity to showcase these initiatives and to encourage governments and stakeholders to do more to help small businesses.

Korean Entrepreneurship

Korean Entrepreneurship

Korean Entrepreneurship

South Korea’s economic growth since the 1960s has been remarkable, transforming from a low-income agrarian society to a thriving, high-income industrialized economy. Research has shown that government policies played a crucial role in this transformation, mainly through strategic investments in physical and human capital and export promotion strategies. In addition, a focus on technological research and development helped to create a competitive advantage in the export market and cultivate a highly educated workforce.


Entrepreneurship has a complex history in South Korea, with cultural values and traditions significantly shaping the country’s entrepreneurial landscape. Confucianism, a religion and philosophy emphasizing education, hard work, and community loyalty, has been a driving force behind South Korea’s cultural value system and has influenced its society for generations. Despite this, there has been relatively little research on the connection between cultural context and entrepreneurship in South Korea.


However, a new academic paper to be published in July 2023 by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) seeks to address this gap in our understanding. The paper will explore the historical evolution of Korean entrepreneurship, focusing on the role of Jo Shik, a renowned Confucian scholar during the Joseon dynasty, and the city of Jinju in South Korea. The authors argue that these factors were instrumental in shaping the development of Korean entrepreneurship and that understanding their influence is crucial for understanding the country’s entrepreneurial landscape today. 


This paper will be the first academic publication on the history of Korean entrepreneurship in Confucian culture to be published in a Western academic journal. It promises to shed new light on this fascinating topic.




Evans, P., & Rauch, J. (1999). Bureaucracy and growth: A cross-national analysis of the effects of “Weberian” state structures on economic growth. American Sociological Review, 64(5), 748-765.

Rhee, J., Park, T., & Lee, D. H. (2010). Drivers of innovativeness and performance for innovative SMEs in South Korea: Mediation of learning orientation. Technovation, 30(1), 65-75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.technovation.2009.04.008.


The Socratic AI

The Socratic AI

The Socratic Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized how we learn and access information. However, it is crucial to create a supportive learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and seeking guidance on how to use AI-powered tools effectively. Faculty should support students using AI through the Socratic method and video-based learning.

The Socratic method is a teaching method that encourages critical thinking and active engagement. The technique involves asking questions to stimulate students’ thinking and help them develop their ideas. In a Socratic classroom, the teacher guides the discussion and encourages students to explore ideas and challenge assumptions.

Using ChatGPT as an example, a teacher can use the Socratic method to engage students in a discussion about the information generated by the tool. For instance, a teacher could ask the students to develop a prompt and then tell ChatGPT to create a response. Afterward, the teacher could ask the students to analyze the response and evaluate its accuracy, reliability, and relevance. The teacher could then ask follow-up questions to help students understand the context and meaning of the answer.

Video-based learning, on the other hand, leverages multimedia content to enhance the learning experience. Videos can supplement lectures and give students a more engaging and interactive learning experience. Teachers can use videos to explain complex concepts, provide real-world examples, and offer visual aids that support learning.

It is common for students to feel apprehensive about using AI-powered tools such as ChatGPT, especially when they are unsure about how to use them correctly. However, instead of punishing students for using these tools, educators should teach them how to use them correctly and ethically. In addition, students should learn the importance of referencing and citing sources using AI-generated content. By doing so, we can help students develop critical thinking skills and encourage them to engage with technology responsibly and ethically.

In conclusion, AI is a powerful tool that has the potential to transform the way we learn and access information. Faculty should support students using AI through the Socratic method and video-based learning. The Socratic method can encourage critical thinking and active engagement, while video-based learning can provide students with a more engaging and interactive learning experience. By teaching students how to use AI-powered tools such as ChatGPT correctly and ethically, we can help them develop critical thinking skills and use technology to enhance their learning and growth.

by: Ayman ElTarabishy, President & CEO, ICSB
Deputy Chair, Department of Management, GWSB

Human-Centered versus People-Centered

Human-Centered versus People-Centered

Human-Centered versus People-Centered: Understanding the Difference, because words do matter

Macroeconomics is a branch of economics that studies how an overall economy—the markets, businesses, consumers, and governments—behaves. The focus is on metrics on output, not on the individuals who carry out the tasks to make these sectors work. On the other hand, human rights connect us through a shared set of rights and responsibilities. Every person has value and dignity.


In entrepreneurship and policymaking, two approaches are often used to address the needs of individuals and communities: human-centered and people-centered. While they share a common goal of improving the well-being of people, there are significant differences between the two approaches.


People-centered approaches tend to prioritize the needs and concerns of specific groups or communities, while human-centered approaches prioritize all individuals’ fundamental needs and values. While both approaches have benefits and drawbacks, it is essential to understand the distinctions to determine which method is appropriate for a given situation.


For example, consider the case of small businesses. A people-centered approach to small business policy might focus on the specific needs of small business owners and their communities, such as access to capital, tax incentives, and workforce development programs. While this approach can effectively address the concerns of small business owners and their communities, there may be more effective ways to ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of small businesses.

On the other hand, a human-centered approach to small business policy would prioritize the fundamental needs and values of all individuals involved in the small business ecosystem. This might include fair labor practices, environmental sustainability, and equitable access to resources and opportunities. A human-centered approach to small business policy can create a more sustainable and reasonable ecosystem for small businesses by prioritizing these fundamental needs and values.
It is important to note that a human-centered approach does not oppose the interests of specific groups or communities. Instead, it seeks to ensure that their interests are aligned with the interests of all humans and the greater good. By focusing on the well-being of all individuals involved in a particular ecosystem, a human-centered approach can create a more just and equitable society for everyone.

To achieve a more sustainable and equitable future for small businesses, it is crucial to adopt a human-centered approach that prioritizes the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their background or affiliation. As the world moves towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must shift our focus towards implementing people- and human-centered policies.

At the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), our focus on human-centered policies for MSMEs aligns with the UN SDGs and our commitment to sustainability. By prioritizing the needs and well-being of individual entrepreneurs and their communities, we can create a more prosperous and equitable future for all. Through our research, programs, and networking efforts, we aim to promote policies and strategies that prioritize the human element of small business ecosystems, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

For ICSB, being Human Centered is synonymous with promoting Humane Entrepreneurship. Humane Entrepreneurship is an approach to entrepreneurship that prioritizes the well-being of individual entrepreneurs and their communities. It seeks to create sustainable and equitable ecosystems that are profitable and socially responsible. Humane Entrepreneurship creates an environment where businesses can thrive, and communities can prosper by prioritizing the fundamental needs and values of all individuals involved in a particular ecosystem. ICSB believes that a human-centered approach to entrepreneurship, grounded in the principles of Humane Entrepreneurship, is essential to creating a more just and equitable society for everyone.

Ultimately, a human-centered approach is not only essential for sustainable development and social progress, but it is also a moral imperative. We must create a world that prioritizes all individuals’ well-being and fundamental needs, regardless of their background or affiliation. So let us work together to create a more just and equitable world where all conditions are met, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.


Written by:
Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy
President & CEO, ICSB
Deputy Chair, Department of Management
GW School of Business



When AI Meets Small Business

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the landscape of small businesses by offering new solutions to long-standing problems. However, while AI can potentially increase efficiency and productivity, it also comes with challenges. 

Pros of AI for Small Businesses

Increased Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of AI is that it can automate routine tasks, freeing employees to focus on more complex and creative tasks. For example, chatbots can handle customer service inquiries, reducing the workload of customer service representatives. Similarly, automated inventory management systems can track stock levels and reorder products when necessary, reducing the need for manual input.

Improved Customer Service

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide instant and personalized customer support 24/7. This can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers feel heard and valued. Additionally, AI can analyze customer data and provide insights into customer preferences and behaviors, helping businesses tailor their products and services to meet their customers’ needs.

Enhanced Decision-Making

AI algorithms can process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, providing businesses with insights that would be impossible to uncover manually. This can help companies to make data-driven decisions that are more informed and accurate, leading to increased profitability and competitiveness.

Cost Savings

AI can help small businesses reduce labor costs by automating routine tasks and reducing the need for manual labor. Additionally, AI-powered inventory management systems can optimize stock levels, reducing the amount of capital in inventory. This can result in significant cost savings over time.


Cons of AI for Small Businesses

High Initial Investment

AI requires a significant initial investment, including hardware, software, and employee training. As a result, small businesses with limited budgets may find it challenging to justify the expense of implementing AI technology.

Lack of Expertise

AI technology is complex, and many small businesses lack the in-house expertise to implement and manage it effectively. This may require firms to hire outside experts, increasing the cost of implementing AI.

Data Security Concerns

AI relies on data to function effectively, but this data can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other security breaches. In addition, small businesses may not have the resources to implement robust security measures, making them more susceptible to data breaches.

Ethical Concerns

As AI becomes more advanced, there is a growing concern about its impact on society. For example, AI algorithms can perpetuate bias and discrimination if incorrectly designed and implemented. Therefore, small businesses must be aware of these ethical concerns and ensure their AI systems are designed and implemented ethically and responsibly.



AI has the potential to revolutionize small businesses, offering new solutions to long-standing problems. While challenges are indeed associated with implementing AI, the benefits are significant. Small companies can leverage AI to increase efficiency, improve customer service, enhance decision-making, and save costs. First, however, small businesses need to be aware of the potential drawbacks of AI, including the high initial investment, lack of expertise, data security concerns, and ethical concerns. By understanding these pros and cons, small businesses can make informed decisions about whether and how to implement AI technology.