Evaluating the Impacts of SME and entrepreneurship policies



Is SME and entrepreneurship policy having its intended effects? Do the benefits of specific programmes justify their costs? Could these benefits be achieved more cost-effectively through alternative approaches? Evaluation provides the key to answering these questions, by determining the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of a policy or programme in relation to its objectives.


This is particularly important in the field of SME and entrepreneurship policy because questions can legitimately be put as to whether current SME and entrepreneurship policies are fit for purpose, or whether changes are needed in its scope and focus.  For example, does the policy mix need to be adjusted or do the enterprises and entrepreneurs targeted need to be modified?


However, reliable impact evaluation is rare in the field of SME and entrepreneurship policy, and less common than in fields such as labour market policy. This remains the case, despite recent improvements in available data and methods for evaluation. One of the reasons is a lack of widespread knowledge among policy makers about how reliable impact evaluation should be taken. 


The just-published OECD Framework for the Evaluation of SME and Entrepreneurship Policies seeks to address these issues by making two major contributions. First, it sets out how to achieve reliable impact evaluation in SME and entrepreneurship policy, including offering a six-step scale to judge the reliability of any evaluation or evaluation method. Second, it provides a summary of what is known about policy impacts from international meta-evaluations and a selection of reliable individual evaluations in the field, spanning a wide range of policy areas and OECD countries. 


This event will launch the OECD’s new Framework for the Evaluation of SME and Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes, including its messages for evaluation methodologies and learning from the findings of previous evaluations. It offers the opportunity to get involved in debate and discussion with a range of constituents from the OECD and ICSB communities on this important topic. The issues that will be covered include:

  • What are the features of reliable impact evaluation?
  • What is the evidence from past evaluations?
  • What are the lessons for future policy design and evaluation practice?

ABOUT Our Partners

The OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities provides comparative statistics, analysis and capacity building for local and national actors to work together to unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises, promote inclusive and sustainable regions and cities, boost local job creation, and support sound tourism policies. 

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A Guide to WomenPreneurs

How to Get the Funds You Need as a WomenPreneur

There are many ways for womenpreneurs to get a jump on funds to start or grow their businesses. Funding options include traditional bank loans, venture capital, angel investors, and more!

Finding out which funding option is right for you depends on your business goals and stage of development. It’s essential to research the costs associated with each type of funding and what conditions might be attached to your options. Here are some ideas on where to start when looking for money to begin your next business venture or help your current business grow!

The challenges womenpreneurs face when seeking funding.

Womenpreneurs often find it more difficult than their male counterparts to secure funding from investors. There are several reasons for this, including that women in business are less likely to be taken seriously by potential investors, and they’re typically asked to prove their business acumen and financial stability. Women must overcome this authority gap if they want to succeed in growing their businesses.

To overcome this gap, you’ll need to understand and be able to explain the ins and outs of not only your daily business operations but other businesses within your industry. Have answers in mind to questions such as:

  • How does your business make a profit?
  • How do your company and industry employees typically write and manage a budget?
  • What is your business strategy, and how do you choose based on your plan?

If you have brief answers to any of these questions that often come up, you’ll be able to make more people sit up and listen when it comes to finding funds to run your business.

How to find the right funding source for your business

There are several funding sources for female-owned businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several loans and grants specifically designed for women entrepreneurs, including the Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Program Loan and the 8(a) Business Development Program. Other means of funding include venture capitalists, angel investors, or asking friends and family for help.

More traditional routes to finding funding options for female-run businesses involve expanding into more inclusive approval structures. This includes small business loans from many big-name banks and credit card companies that offer higher rewards and cash back if you use their card on purchases from women-owned small businesses.

Regardless of your funding option, it’s essential to research to find the right funding source that will meet your needs and fit your business plan accordingly. Weigh your options and decide whether you can afford to borrow money or need to start with grants or crowdfunding first.

What to do when your application is rejected

When your loan application is rejected, don’t give up! You can do many things to improve your chances of approval the next time.

Find opportunities to participate in organizations such as the International Council for Small Businesses (ICSB) and attend conferences where you can network with other womenpreneurs. By joining in with other like-minded business owners who know and experience the same struggles you face, you’ll find a meaningful support group. Often, you’ll find peers who have reached their business goals and want to invest in other women to help raise them to the same level of success!

Approach the friends, family, and fools (FFFs) in your network and see if they’re able and interested in investing in your business to help get you off the ground or through a difficult stage of growth. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you have to take this approach! You’ll be among the 35-40% of startups and businesses that raise money similarly.

How to negotiate with potential investors

A few things to remember when negotiating with potential investors as a woman. First, be confident in what you’re offering, and make sure to set goals with realistic expectations. Be clear about what you need from the investor, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself – know your value and advocate for it!

Investors can be broken up into two groups: venture capitalists and angel investors. Going into a meeting with different investors will require different approaches. Here are two scenarios to keep in mind:

Venture Capitalists:

Often, a newer business looking to grow will seek additional help from venture capitalists. Show them how you’re managing your money. If they see you handling your finances well, they’ll see you as someone they can trust with their money in the form of investment. Return on investment (ROI) is your main focus here.

Angel Investors:

Startups often approach angel investors either right after or before opening their doors. In this case, showcase your team, the novelty of your business idea, and the potential traction your idea can generate. If they like your current energy and potential for growth, they’ll be more likely to invest in your venture.

Tips for creating a successful pitch deck

Going into an investor meeting can be nerve-wracking. If you’re worried about missing the mark when making a first impression, make sure to follow these four tips when putting together your pitch deck:

  • Make sure it’s visually appealing and easy to read. Use clear and concise language, and don’t overload the viewer with too much information at once.
  • Focus on telling a compelling story that showcases why your business is worth investing in.
  • Be clear about what problem you’re solving, how you’re doing it differently than others, and what kind of potential return investors can expect.
  • Always be prepared to answer questions from viewers of your deck! Anticipate common concerns and be ready to address them clearly and succinctly.

How to keep your business finances in order

Keeping your business finances in order is essential to ensure that your company remains successful. There are a few key things you can do to make sure this happens:

  • Make sure all expenses and income are documented and tracked correctly. This will help you understand how your company is performing financially over time.
  • Set aside money for unexpected costs or emergencies. It’s always important to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, even if it doesn’t happen often.
  • Make a habit of leaving yourself enough breathing room in the budget for unexpected minor expenses, so you don’t have to scramble for funds or rely on credit cards to carry you over from month to month.

Closing Thoughts

Womenpreneurs still face unique challenges when accessing capital and other financial support. This is especially true for women who operate businesses in traditionally male-dominated industries or sectors. To help level the playing field for womenpreneurs, we must continue working together to create policies and programs to support entrepreneurship among women!

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
President & CEO, ICSB
Deputy Chair, Department of Management, GW School of Business


E-sports part of ICSB Academy

E-sports are a revolutionary industry that continues to grow in popularity worldwide, and they provide an exciting platform for teaching entrepreneurship. Over the last few years, the rapid growth of e-sports has been fueled by increased interest among players, teams, and back-office businesses. With that in mind, it is increasingly essential for educators to integrate the concept of entrepreneurship into their e-sports curriculum. ICSB is proud to announce, with our partnership with Gwangju City, that we will be adding e-sports into our World Congress Academy Program and hope it can be used to teach entrepreneurship, from exploring the industry landscape to developing strategies for success.

Gwangju City has also, with ESTV, decided to form a working council and jointly host world e-sports competitions, nurture, and exchange e-sports professionals, promote amateur e-sports competitions, and foster game developers.

Gwangju City and ESTV plan to hold a Korea-US esports university competition in connection with the ICSB World Congress to be held at the Kimdaejung Convention Center in July, as well as to co-host a world esports competition. You can click here to learn more about the new partnership.

Please complete the following Interest Form to learn more and potentially join the ICSB Academy World Cup event with your school.

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
President & CEO, ICSB
Message from ICSB President

Message from ICSB President

Message from Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy

Dear ICSB Family,


We would like first to wish you all a Happy Holiday Season! We hope this time of year has gifted you and your family the time to rest, reflect, and recharge after this year’s challenges and uncertainties. As an organization built on a community foundation, we want to thank you for choosing to be a part of ours. Through this support, we can lead as an organization and propel our mission further together. 



Reflecting on 2022, I acknowledge the hardships, challenges, and recovery needed in SMEs, entrepreneurship, and personal lives. However, I also commend and appreciate how we have rejoiced together as a community. We found solace in this community which has continued to advance us forward. From our ICSB 2022 World Congress (being delivered in a hybrid format to promote global inclusion) to the ICSB100 Pledge (a pledge to respond to the need for transparency and swift communication in the professedly opaque publication process), together, we have continued to make this year count.



I like to specifically mention five critical accomplishments for 2022 that we should all celebrate:


ICSB on Capital Hill:  The 66th ICSB World Congress was held during the American Independence week celebration in Washington, DC. A significant part of this year’s event enabled MSME advocates, professors, business leaders, United Nations officials, and student leaders to make their voices heard. The venue for this forum was the United States Congress Ways and Means Committee Room on July 6, 2022.
– ICSB at the United Nations: ICSB was the first organization to hold an in-person event since Covid-19 at the United Nations on June 27, 2022, as part of MSMEs Day. ICSB’s message is clear, MSMEs are the first to move after any pandemic or war, and we need to support them more.
ICSB’s JSBM Journal Impact Factor rises to 6.881. In 2020, the JSBM impact factor was only 3.4. Yet, with new leadership since 2000 of Drs. ElTarabishy Eric Liguori and Katia Passerni, JSBM flourishes. We expect more growth and impact.
ICSB’s JSBM’s Female composition of Associate Editors is number one across all academic management journals. In addition, ICSB’s JSBM has the highest female entrepreneurship research faculty percentage than AACSB averages and most academic management journals. We are now the leaders in this area, as we should be. Thanks again to the leadership of Drs. Katia Passerni and Eric Liguori.
ICSB returns to Argentina (Rosario), ICSB’s last event in Argentina was in 2017, and we returned after five years as part of the SME World Forum under Dr. Ruben Ascua’s leadership. ICSB, with the support of Argentina, created MSMEs Day in 2017.  Argentina and ICSB will always be connected because of our historic accomplishments at the United Nations.



We have achieved monumental tasks through education, engagement, and resilience together. Thank you all for the inspiration you have gifted us to continue moving forward. We will carry this as guidance for the new year and look forward to strengthening our relationship with every one of our ICSB Family members in 2023.



Best Regards,
Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
President & CEO, ICSB
ICSB Top Ten Trends for 2023

ICSB Top Ten Trends for 2023

The Top Ten Trends for 2023

Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy, President & CEO, International Council for Small Business Excellence, Deputy Chair, Department of Management at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB).


The dawn of 2023 finds the world in new tensions and uncertainties with a significant war, high energy costs, and new Covid-19 variants. These tensions and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been un-relentless and catastrophic. Governments are looking to each other and the private sector to forge new solutions to problems facing us. Resilience and frugality have continued to be the most popular themes since 2022.


Although the past 12 months have challenged us, we still believe that MSMEs and Humane Entrepreneurship provide the best framework for an effective and comprehensive recovery. MSMEs are deeply integrated and in touch with their local communities, allowing them to extend further the principles of frugal innovation and the possibility of complete recovery.


Although the pandemic and current war have altered much of our previous expectations for 2022, there are still many positives and plenty of opportunities for businesses to take advantage of. Looking forward to 2023, numerous trends offer glimpses of solutions for those bold and innovative enough to seize them. Here are ICSB’s top trends for 2023.


Read more at::


Research Excellence that Matters

Research Excellence that Matters

Research Excellence that Matters

Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy, President & CEO, International Council for Small Business Excellence, Deputy Chair, Department of Management at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB).


Dr. Herman Aguinis is the Avram Tucker Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Management at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB).

What does it mean to say “scholarship excellence and impact for tenure and promotion,” specifically in small business and entrepreneurship research?

Most universities use a combination of the following criteria to assess excellence in research:

  1. 1- Publications in high-quality journals,
  2. 2- Citation metrics, and
  3. 3- Impartial evaluations by recognized experts in the candidate’s field

Yet, there is no agreed-upon guidance on what “high-quality journals” are. As a result, junior faculty have often asked for advice on the definition of “high-quality journals.” Because of a lack of clear guidelines, many schools choose to use journal lists such as the UT-Dallas list or the FT-50 list. We all know this is a critical choice because it dictates decisions about tenure, promotion, and salary increases, as well as other important rewards such as teaching reductions, additional financial support in the form of summer salary, and research funds.

I asked Dr. Herman Aguinis, one of the leading experts in the world on scholarly impact who has been ranked among the world’s top 100 most influential Economics & Business researchers every year since 2018, to help shed light on these issues.

Dr. El Tarabishy: The UT-Dallas journal list seems to be used by many universities. Who created it?

Dr. Aguinis: I like reading history, so I looked into this issue a few years ago. Interestingly, this list was created in a study published in a 2000 Academy of Management Journal article. If you read this article closely, you will see that the authors defined “high-quality journals” based on which ones had the highest impact factors in the years 1995, 1996, and 1997. I am sure many business school deans have no idea they are imposing a list of journals based on citation data from the late 1990s. I don’t think we should use impact factor data from 25 years ago because many journals are no longer as impactful as they used to be. Others were very young at that time, but today are just as impactful or more compared to those on the list. Would you make decisions about valuing a car, a house, or anything else based on data that are a quarter of a century old? Probably not. So, I don’t think we should not value journals based on data that are a quarter of a century old, either.


Dr. El Tarabishy: How about the FT-50 list? This one is a lot more current, right?


Dr. Aguinis: Yes, it was created in 2016, and it was an update of the previous “UT-45” list that started in 2007 and then was updated in 2010. As its name indicates, this list was created by the Financial Times. The Financial Times compiled this list based on a journal reputation survey involving about 200 business schools participating in the FT Global MBA, Executive MBA, or Online MBA rankings. In addition, journalists at the Financial Times decided to drop some journals from the original FT-45 and add others to create the FT-50 list—but we don’t know the criteria used. I am not sure it is a good idea to assess the value of our research based on the opinion of journalists, especially when the criteria used to select journals are not sufficiently clear. I believe that many business school deans push faculty to publish in journals on this list because this positively impacts a business school’s FT ranking, which is an essential component of a dean’s performance evaluation. But, this does not mean that articles published in these journals are necessarily of higher quality or have a greater impact than those in other journals. I can see why many deans promote the use of this list based on their own self-interest, though.

Dr. El Tarabishy: Regardless of specific lists, is there any value in having them? Or should we eliminate them?

Dr. Aguinis: This question needs to be answered within the strategic goals of each specific business school. First, if there are no research standards whatsoever, a list may be useful. Also, having a list protects junior faculty who have published a sufficient number of articles in journals on the list when they go through the tenure review against vague reviewer statements such as “this research is not of sufficient quality to merit tenure.” On the other hand, pushing faculty to publish in a small number of journals only “by all means necessary” creates problems because faculty, who are very smart, will obviously be highly motivated to find ways to publish in those journals. This changes the goal from making important research contributions that will produce meaningful and important improvements in society to just “getting another hit.” We discussed pros and cons of journal lists in detail in our Academy of Management Perspectives article “An A is an A:” The new bottom line for valuing academic research.


Dr. El Tarabishy: Many schools have moved away from lists and use journals’ impact factors to decide whether a specific article is impactful. What are your thoughts on this practice of evaluating research?


Dr. Aguinis: The impact factor is the average number of citations received by articles in a journal based on a particular time window. So, it is a measure of average citations for each journal. In other words, it is a journal-level measure of impact, not an article-level measure. A small minority of articles published in top journals account for the lion’s share of those journals’ citations. Most articles in leading journals are cited just as often, if not fewer, than those published in journals not considered “top” journals. We make too many mistakes when we confuse the journal and article levels of analysis. We collected quite a bit of data that supports this conclusion empirically in our Academy of Management Learning and Education article titled Defining, measuring, and rewarding scholarly impact: Mind the level of analysis. Also, you can watch this 5-minute video explaining these issues as well.


Dr. El Tarabishy: What is your advice for those of us interested in improving the impact of our research?

Dr. Aguinis: In thinking about the impact of our research, we need to consider the broader impact of our work across multiple stakeholders: Other researchers, students, and society at large. Fortunately, university administrators including deans and department chairs and we, researchers, have several tools to do just that. These are tools derived from the performance management and talent management literature. We described many of these in our 2021 article titled How to enhance scholarly impact: Recommendations for university administrators, researchers, and educators.


Dr. El Tarabishy: Any final thoughts you would like to share with us?

Dr. Aguinis: Scholarly impact is a journey—not a destination. We need to careful think about impact before, during, and after our research is completed. We need to ask questions such as: Who are we trying to benefit from our research, and why? What can I do to improve the impact of my research in the future? How can I make my research more relevant and valuable for society? If you are interested in answering these and other related questions, please see our Business & Society article titled If you are serious about impact, create a personal impact development plan.

Dr. El Tarabishy: Thank you for sharing your insights with us!

Dr. Aguinis: You are most welcome. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about these issues, which I believe are critical for the success and long-term sustainability of business schools.