The International Council for Small Business (ICSB) is pleased to announce the inaugural Humane Entrepreneurship Awards. These awards seek to spotlight and empower those small and medium-sized enterprises that have successfully navigated between business excellence and employee empowerment, while also making positive impacts on their communities.

This award was created to support and promote the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Sustainable development encompasses a set of actions designed to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. According to the SDGs, intentional efforts must be made to underscore the need for an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future for people and the planet. Therefore, it is essential that businesses harmonize economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection.

As governments are increasingly concerned with sustainable economic growth, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) understand that they must expand their priorities beyond the profit margin in order to become effective partners for growth and social stability. SMEs that adopt humane entrepreneurship principles are the pillars from which sustainable development can be achieved in today’s society.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Republic of Korea, the inaugural prize of USD 20,000 (plus travel and accommodation expenses to the awards ceremony) will be presented at the United Nations on May 10, 2018. Please join us in to highlight small business excellence. Learn more below or:

Award Criteria

  • Small and medium-sized businesses that have been in operation since 2013.
  • Enterprises that empower their employees to help improve the community, while simultaneously improving the performance of the firm.
  • Enterprises that demonstrate how they are achieving at least one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Enterprises that bring innovative solutions to the marketplace.
  • Enterprises that excel in customer service and satisfaction.
  • Enterprises that have a unique and sustainable business strategy.

Who can apply?

  • Been profitable for the past 24 months and can provide simplified certified financial reports to be reviewed by the Committee Chair.
  • Be able to travel to the United Nations for the Humane Entrepreneurship (HE) Award Ceremony, from May 9-11, 2018 (all expenses must be covered by individual firms and no grants are available).
  • Be able to present in English, Spanish, or French at the United Nations.

System for nomination, evaluation, and selection of award winners

  1. Complete the online nomination form no later than March 10, 2018.
  2. A first-round selection panel of judges will review all nominations by March 15, and will follow-up with email correspondence on selection.
  3. If selected as an award finalist by the selection panel, provide simplified financial reports no later than April 2, 2018.
  4. Final Judging Point System


January 20: Call for Nominations for the Humane Entrepreneurship Award

March 10: Close of Nominations for the Humane Entrepreneurship Award

March 15: Announcement of the Humane Entrepreneurship Award Country Finalists

May 10: Award Humane Entrepreneurship Award Country Ambassadors at the United Nations


The background to and the organization behind the prize

The International Council for Small Business (ICSB) is a non-profit organization devoted to continuing management education for entrepreneurs and small business. 

The International Council for Small Business is devoted to the advancement of management development practices for potential entrepreneurs and existing small business owner/managers through education, research, and the free exchange of ideas.

The Council was founded in 1955 on the belief that enlightened small business management is necessary for successful and profitable small business; that successful small business is essential to our national economies; and that entrepreneurship needs to be fostered to stimulate a dynamic and growing economic system. The original name given to the Council by the Ford Foundation Grantees was the National Council for Small Business Management Development (NCSBMD). The name was subsequently changed in 1977 when the organization decided to incorporate the international community. Over the next decade, membership of ICSB doubled and the Council began to play a key role in the globalization of business during this period. The Council serves as an umbrella organization that integrates the activities of diverse organizations and professionals who deal directly with small business. ICSB creates and distributes new information on small business management and entrepreneurial development through global knowledge drawn from government, education and commerce. Council members representing education, industry, financial institutions and government, provide a worldwide network of ideas and experience exchange on management assistance for small business.


UN: 27 June

Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day

Thanks to the proposal of ICSB, United Nations declared 27 June as the Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. Those enterprises, which generally employ fewer than 250 persons, are the backbone of most economies worldwide and play a key role in developing countries.

Formal and informal Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) make up over 90% of all firms and account on average for 60-70% of total employment and 50% of GDP.

The United Nations General Assembly, recognizing the importance of these enterprises, decided to declare 27 June the Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable development.