ICSB Proposes an Audacious Plan to Save Small Businesses!

ICSB Proposes an Audacious Plan to Save Small Businesses!

ICSB proposes an Audacious Plan to Save Small Businesses – If we continue to think small in terms of solutions, we will be stuck in small and incremental changes

Sunday, March, 22, 2020

ICSB proposes an Audacious Plan to Save Small Businesses – If we continue to think small in terms of solutions, we will be stuck in small and incremental changes

Sunday, March, 22, 2020

An Audacious Plan to Save Small Businesses – All small businesses below 50 employees become tax-exempt as not-for-profits for 10 years.

“The world isn’t getting better, but technology is,” words spoken not by leaders but by an astute 9-year-old. The truth of that is like a thunderclap. Business innovation makes constant advancements, but oftentimes it’s at the sacrifice of humane practices. The very things that improve the quality of life for some come at a high “people” cost for very many others. Business innovation improves while humanity is removed. And that is when things are going relatively well.

The expression “desperate times call for desperate measures” may have sounded overused or laughingly cliche a few months ago, but those words have come to life around the world in just a few short months. The world, as we know it, is changing in front of our very eyes, and the aftermath of crisis will require more change, especially when we see the fractured economic crisis we are left with.

We think of economies and businesses as inanimate entities, but they are born, raised, and die on the backs of living, breathing people. They are inextricably linked, so when businesses go into crisis, so do the people who work for them. Particularly vulnerable during this time are small businesses that cannot afford to give employees extended paid leave and employees who depend on a weekly paycheck. Now is the time for large-scale measures to protect vulnerable businesses and workers, particularly seniors who face greater risks to their health and well-being.

If we continue to think small in terms of solutions, we will be stuck in small and incremental changes will only affect incremental improvements. But circumstances prove that the status quo is not enough. These desperate times, they call for, let’s not say “desperate” measures, but a well-thought-out plan. An audacious plan implemented on a global scale. What would that plan look like?

The Audacious Plan asks for the following 5 Guiding Principles:

1. All small businesses below 50 employees become tax-exempt as not-for-profits for 10 years. Small businesses are the lifeblood of their communities. Aside from selling necessary products or services, they provide social and community cohesion as well as jobs. Times of crisis like these hurt small businesses the most, which in turn harms society on a human level. When bars, restaurants, and other places for recreation suffer, socializing goes down. It should be considered a higher civic duty to make sure small businesses can survive. Countries can figure out ways to make money that don’t put a strain on small businesses. Big box stores in an area often beat up small businesses, and many of those wounds lead to their death. Giving small businesses tax exemption helps balance out the disadvantage, keep and create jobs, and generally give the local economy a much needed shot in the arm.

2. All countries establish standards for online education for a national education program for K-12 education in partnership with global IT firms. In this age of digital and virtual technology, pandemic or other disasters shouldn’t have to grind education to a halt. Citizens pay taxes for public education, but in many cases, it is not paying for alternatives in cases such as these. But even many affluent neighborhoods have schools without the ability to conduct education online, making it not solely an economic issue. The attitudes of educators need to be adjusted to view educated children as their civic duty under any circumstances where it is possible.

3. All public teachers and nurses get tax free benefits and free graduate education like veteran benefits. Teachers and nurses are a new breed of modern-day and all too often unsung heroes that should be given the benefits of such. Teachers are on the front lines trying to keep order, educate, inspire, and protect our children, whether the classroom is online or in real life. They often the first line of defense for children. Nurses help heal, comfort, and care for patients in close contact, putting their own health and well-being on the line daily. They fight a different war but a war; nonetheless, one that requires self-sacrifice. They should have the benefits of someone who serves and sacrifices for their community, including free tuition, tax-exemption, and healthcare benefits.

4. Free internet funded by local governments. Once a novel technological luxury, the internet can be very nearly regarded as a necessity in this era. Like many necessities, not all can afford it. The mindset towards internet access needs to change from being considered a private luxury to a public good. When citizens pay taxes for public services, the internet should be one of them. Internet for all.

5. A Global Small Business Congress to held on June 27 at the United Nations. For any of these guidelines to be enacted, there needs to be a meeting of minds; a summit for the people and by the people—organizations without government affiliation–to meet to discuss these plans. June 27 is the United Nations International Day for Micro-Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs Day). The day was proposed by ICSB and presented by Argentina to the UN General Assembly. This day is our meeting point.

We need to move swiftly forward with the Audacious Plan to Save Small Businesses.

Article written by:

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
ICSB Executive Director
Deputy Chair and Professor at George Washington University School of Business

4th Industry and Humane Entrepreneurship

4th Industry and Humane Entrepreneurship

4th Industry and Humane Entrepreneurship

Sunday, September 26, 2021, by Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

As our society moves through Industry 4.0 and acclimates to manufacturing automation, this 4th Industrial Revolution is throwing our world into uncharted waters where cold, uncompromising technology meets the warmth and unpredictability of the human experience.

 
Within the context of humane entrepreneurship, we understand that each entity has its histories, values, and cultures that inform how they do business and interact with their peers. However, any time we approach a different way of operating, there are new questions that arise. Chief among them, we must ask ourselves what the role is of humane entrepreneurship at this unfamiliar intersection of technology vs. the human experience and how we can consider the lessons we have learned from the past to embody the society we want to be in the future.


According to academic and researcher Ivea ZeBryte, we must keep sight of the human element in all that we do. ZeBryte says, “When teaching entrepreneurs, we should be working through a matrix where empathy is understood as the ability to put oneself into the place of another, to identify and be sensitive to others that we recognize as different from us.” Therefore, it is precisely the differences that challenge us to come together for the greater good. To move forward together into the next realm of entrepreneurship, ZeBryte lays out the road map to follow: reevaluate, or delineate what we value as humanity; reimagine, or work out the plurality of futures ahead of us; and reset, or build a new system of value creation and exchange based on these agreed-upon ideas.


Meanwhile, taking a more micro-level view, we must also consider what influences entrepreneurs and their decision-making processes, both internal and external. Psychological factors include personality, mindset, and level of cognition, while non-psychological elements encompass affiliation to a group, religion, culture, and friends and family. Additionally, one could underscore three main orientations: entrepreneurial, emphasizing innovation; human resource, regarding empowerment; or sustainability, highlighting environment. “When taking all of these factors cumulatively, it creates a multi-dimensional construct that is humane entrepreneurship,” says Indu Khurana, Assistant Professor at Hampden-Sydney College. Without consideration for the individual and the society, including the influences behind our decisions, we lose the value of humane entrepreneurship.


In the meantime, it is essential to reconcile these humane concepts with new technology that is rapidly advancing this current industrial revolution. Take, for example, the travel industry. With tourism contributing USD 8.9 trillion to global GDP, it is closely linked to countries’ social, economic, and environmental well-being. The opportunities to make it even more innovative and efficient through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are endless. Still, it is essential to consider what cost they may come, particularly for these citizens for whom so much is at stake. As Dr. Jugho Suh, Assistant Professor at George Washington University School of Business, warns, “AI-based off of Big Data is not a panacea for all problems…AI can read patterns and behavior, but it cannot read attitude, values, or underlying motives for action.” Therefore, while it is essential to lift the travel industry in this current age of technology, we must not do so at the expense of human lives.


At its core, technological advances have brought us to the current era and given countless opportunities to those living today. However, we are experiencing an important crossroads right now, one with immense ramifications for future generations, and it is up to us the future we choose to orient ourselves toward. Although there will always be significant differences across cultures, we must find common values to move into the future that we desire together.


Watch the session below for more on the impacts of colonialism on Chile, religion in India, and AI technology on the travel industry.

Investment Choices and The Power of Gold Shield

Investment Choices and The Power of Gold Shield

Investment Choices and The Power of Gold Shield

Tuesday, September 21, 2021, by Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, PhD

The Bretton Woods system of monetary management was created to establish an international currency regime. The United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference took place in 1944 at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. At that time, the delegates from 44 countries established two significant institutions – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, now known as the World Bank Group. It took a long time and only in 1958, the Bretton Woods system was in full operation. The responsibility of the United States was to keep the price of gold fixed at USD 35 an ounce and make sure the supply of dollars was at adequate levels to maintain future gold convertibility, as the gold was the basis for the U.S. dollar. Participating nations were required to settle international balances in dollars. The Bretton-Woods system did not last long and officially ended in 1971 when President Nixon confirmed that the United States would not continue exchanging gold for the United States Dollar, mainly due to the fact that at that time, the U.S. balance-of-payments deficits contributed to the level of dollars in circulation surpassing the level of U.S. gold stock[1].


Is gold still an attractive investment 50 years later? How has the price of gold been fluctuating over the years? The price of gold is affected by three important factors- supply, demand conditions and investors sentiments. Gold is one of the precious metals that has been a subject of great attraction for investors worldwide. For many, the gold represents a treasured investment and demand for gold is exceptionally high during times of economic and financial crises, such as the Great Depression, Global Financial Crisis and the most recent COVID-19 global pandemic. The supply of gold also has an impact on the price of gold. Gold mining has been continuing for centuries and one could assume that, if there is a higher supply, the price should be lower. This is not always the case as the increasing demand for gold is explained by the growing number of jewellery items, the higher level of gold added by central banks to their reserves and gold investments in commodity markets, with many investors choosing to have gold in their investment portfolios as a shield from unstable economic circumstances.


In 2020, during COVID-19 global pandemic, the price of gold was driven to new heights, reaching above USD 2,000 per ounce. Due to volatile economic conditions worldwide, investors rushed to choose gold and other precious metals as a reliable and recession-proof store of value, further driving up the price of gold. Another contributing factor to the surging price of gold was the severe disruption in the gold supply chains worldwide, due to the pandemic restrictions with the decreased production levels, deliveries and suspension of work in refineries. Nevertheless, to this day, gold is a well-known investment choice for diversifying investment portfolios and it is used it as a shield from uncertain economic conditions.



[1] www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/bretton-woods-created

Author

Dr Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka is Global Certificates Manager at ICSB, a Higher Degree by Research Supervisor at Excelsia College and Adjunct Academic at the University of Technology  Sydney, Australia. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka held teaching and senior academic management positions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and Australia. She specialised in general investments, personal and corporate superannuation investments while working for Westpac Banking Corporation and BT Financial Group in Australia. She was invited to join The Housing Connection, a not-for-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia as Treasurer and Board Member from November 2019. Her research interests include entrepreneurial finance, traditional and alternative ways to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate finance, policies for the small business sector, innovation and SMEs, FinTechs and Blockchain. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka is the Associate Editor for the Journal of the International Council for Small Business (JICSB). 

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 5 – Can You Execute?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 5 – Can You Execute?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 5 – Can You Execute?

Tuesday, September 7, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

Go-to-market strategies for most new ventures are usually fatally flawed. And, they are usually fatally flawed because they are not grounded by voice of customer (VOC) research. You cannot execute successfully without truly vetting the elements of your go-to-market strategy. This is where the rubber hits the road. Planning is nothing without execution! And, executing based on assumptions and guesswork is folly. So, your execution must be validated by your customer.

 

First, determine your suite of offerings for your addressable market. Find out exactly what the customer wants In terms of a product/service suite. Single offerings are considered one-trick ponies to investors. They want to see a portfolio of offerings to different types of customers with different use cases. Yes, your starting point is a beach-head with a core customer and a core use case. But, you have to plan for adjacency plays – new customers, new applications etc. So, determine what will be your first offerings to the first customers and then build out from there.

 

Second, determine you pricing strategy using VOC. Do not use cost-plus pricing or competitive-based pricing, instead use demand-based pricing. In other words, back into your pricing using customer input. Find out exactly what your customers are willing and able to pay. In essence, do not say “our costs are X therefore are price should be Y.” Or, “our competitors are priced at ABC, therefore we should price accordingly.” No, allow your customer to set your price ceiling. They will tell you the value that they attach to your product/service.

 

Third, determine your channels of distribution using VOC. Engage your potential customers and determine where they currently shop for solutions like yours. And, are they happy with where they have to shop for them? You need to gain market access to your customers so find the right channels and then slot your products/services in those channels. Also, be mindful that most investors want a venture that has planned on multiple channels of distribution. Multi-channel is actually a must today so forget your notion of a single D2C channel – your own website only. Pure-plays such as this limit your access to customers; cost a lot of money re: customer acquisition; and scare investors!

 

Fourth, determine your marketing communications strategy by using VOC. This execution element is perhaps the most critical. The wrong media mean missed opportunities. Remember, no one knows you, your venture or your brand. You need to reach your customers. So, you need to determine exactly what media your addressable market consumes – what they read, listen to, and watch. You will not have enough budget to shotgun this. So, narrow-cast – focus – and hit your customer directly. If you know precisely the type of customers that are part of your addressable market, talk with them and ascertain their media habits. If they say, “we watch Oprah”, then, you better advertise on Oprah. If they say, I learn about product/services like this on Instagram”, then you better be on Instagram!\

 

A cohesive, integrated execution strategy is a must if you are going to have a successful entrepreneurial journey. And, it is possible. Just do the work and enjoy your success!

Author

Frederick Crane serves as a Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr. Crane is an Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the College of Business at Northeastern University; Former Editor of the Journal of the Academy of Business Education; and co-founder of Ceilidh Insights LLC – an innovation management training, intellectual property consulting
and consumer insight company. He was formerly a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of New Hampshire and a Chair and Full professor at Dalhousie University.

At Northeastern, he developed the graduate new venture creation course; the undergraduate innovation course – which is now taught campus-wide; and developed the online MBA course on innovation and enterprise growth. He also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Every semester at least one of his teams from his new venture creation course goes on to commercialize a business.

Citation of Article:

Crane, F. (2021, September 7). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 5 – Can You Execute?  The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette. https://icsb.org/the-entrepreneurial-journey-part-5-can-you-execute/

Education and Humane Entrepreneurship

Education and Humane Entrepreneurship

Education and Humane Entrepreneurship

Sunday, September 5, 2021 by Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

Education sits as the cornerstone of creating socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs. When we imagine the future of humane entrepreneurship, it includes empowered employees and well-educated entrepreneurs making intelligent decisions to heal the environment and benefit the world. To enable entrepreneurs to make these changes we envision, we must educate them on the issues that truly matter, such as integrating social entrepreneurship with sustainable entrepreneurship and employing business practices that protect our planet, communities, and future generations.

 

First, we must consider the significance of climate change and the role that government officials and entrepreneurs play in preventing further damage to the planet. Although governments are making changes to reduce negative impacts on the environment, we are still concerned about whether profitability and sustainability can coexist. We must educate all stakeholders about climate risk and their duty to promote sustainability in response to this. As observed by Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, Global Certificates Manager for ICSB and adjunct professor at University of Technology Sydney, “With every new business venture comes a great responsibility for making climate-friendly decisions.” Therefore, we need to continue developing and supporting eco-friendly solutions such as green start-ups, fin-techs, and sustainability reporting and educate entrepreneurs on how to implement SDGs and sustainable business practices properly. It is imperative to note that long-term profits will not matter if the planet deteriorates due to climate change.

 

This sustainability education is inherently tied to education about social entrepreneurship, as both of these entrepreneurial approaches target issues on a human and environmental level. Although there exists an increasing amount of research on social entrepreneurial intention (SEI), or the motivation of entrepreneurs to build new social enterprises, we still lack knowledge about different SEI antecedents, such as personality, cognition, and experience, as well as variables moderating antecedent-SEI relationships, including economic and social influences. According to Dr. Phillipp Kruse, a scientific staff member at the Dresden University of Technology, the solution to these research issues lies in examining SEI in countries with different cultures and economic situations and developing a validated instrument with which to measure SEI. Additionally, social entrepreneurship educators must include more psychological input in university courses to strengthen participants’ motivational ties to social entrepreneurship.

 

With the amount of power entrepreneurial learners possess to change the future of business and the environment, we owe them the best education, educators, research, and settings. We must listen inclusively to the voices of these learners and new and small businesses alike. As stated by Dr. Norris Krueger, Senior Research Fellow at the College of Doctoral Studies, UOPX & Entrepreneurship Northwest, “Students are our secret weapon. In terms of learning and educating, and especially in terms of the ecosystem.” To provide entrepreneurial learners with the best resources, we must shift from top-down systems to bottom-up, from institutions to people, and from hierarchies to networks. Inclusivity and active listening are the keys to discovering what our entrepreneurial students need to flourish, improve their communities, and shape the future of humane entrepreneurship. In educating entrepreneurs and stakeholders on their sustainable responsibilities, increasing students’ ties to social entrepreneurship at the university level, and providing high quality, comprehensive education, we grant entrepreneurs the tools necessary to implement safer business practices and create long-term, positive change for our environment, communities, and ways of life.

For more on the importance of entrepreneurial education, watch the session below.

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 4 – Do You Have the Right Brand?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 4 – Do You Have the Right Brand?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 4 – Do You Have the Right Brand?

Wednesday, August 25, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

Entrepreneurial Journey Part 4

I have argued for more than 20 years that building and sustaining a powerful entrepreneurial brand is critical if a venture is to survive, grow, and endure in a complex and competitive marketplace. Moreover, a new venture has a relatively short time frame in which to establish its brand. If it misses this critical window of opportunity, it is very likely to fail. Entrepreneurs must focus on creating brands that clearly communicate the value desired by the customer as well as reinforce the intended position the entrepreneurial firm wishes to occupy in the market. Importantly, the brand must be consistent and sustained over time.

 

One of the most basic definitions of a brand is that it is something of “value” for both the customer and the company.  At a practical level, a brand embodies your offer of value—your promise—to the customer. Ultimately, a brand is a blend of what you say it is, what others say it is, and how well you deliver on your promise—from the customer’s perspective. Finally, a brand is a powerful asset that must be carefully developed and managed. 

 

For you and your venture, the brand you select is important because it can set you apart and truly differentiate your venture (and its products/services) from your competitors. But branding brings other benefits to your venture. First, branding can be an integrative tool for the entire venture. For example, the branding process, even the simple naming of your business, forces you to consider very carefully the core “value” you will create and deliver to your key customers. In addition, branding also helps you sharpen your business model (how you will make money and from whom you will make it). Second, branding increases the chances of acquiring your initial set of customers in the early stages of your venture. And, of course, branding will help solidify customer loyalty to your venture in the later stages. Third, branding can increase your access to suppliers and improve your chances of channel support. Fourth, branding can increase access to new venture capital. 

 

While a brand is extremely important to you and your venture, it might be argued that customers, in fact, may benefit most from branding. Recognizing competing products by distinctive branding allows customers to be more efficient shoppers. Consumers can recognize and avoid products with which they are dissatisfied while becoming loyal to other, more satisfying brands. Strong brands reduce customers’ perceived risk when purchasing and can increase their trust with the brand. Finally, strong brands also help the customer visualize and better understand the product or service.

 

A good brand will possess a number of important characteristics. Keep these characteristics in mind as you begin the branding process. For example, a good brand has the following qualities:

  1.  Effectively communicates the distinctive value you wish to offer the customer
  2.  Is “relevant” to the customer
  3.  Reinforces the company’s intended positioning in the marketplace
  4.  Is consistent and unifying
  5.  Is easily understood by your customers and your employees
  6.  Can be sustained over time

You should consider these characteristics as you begin to ponder your possible brand(s) for your venture. It is clear that brands lacking the above characteristics are likely to be weaker brands that may not survive in a crowded and competitive marketing environment. My advice: test your brand with your potential customers – find out what they think and how they feel about your brand concept.

Author

Frederick Crane serves as a Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr. Crane is an Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the College of Business at Northeastern University; Former Editor of the Journal of the Academy of Business Education; and co-founder of Ceilidh Insights LLC – an innovation management training, intellectual property consulting
and consumer insight company. He was formerly a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of New Hampshire and a Chair and Full professor at Dalhousie University.

At Northeastern, he developed the graduate new venture creation course; the undergraduate innovation course – which is now taught campus-wide; and developed the online MBA course on innovation and enterprise growth. He also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Every semester at least one of his teams from his new venture creation course goes on to commercialize a business.

Citation of Article:

Crane, F. (2021, August 25). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 4 – Do You Have the Right Brand?  The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette. https://icsb.org/the-entrepreneurial-journey-part-4-do-you-have-the-right-brand/

Humane, Sustainable, and Harmonious Entrepreneurship: Shifting to a More Holistic Perspective of Entrepreneurship

Humane, Sustainable, and Harmonious Entrepreneurship: Shifting to a More Holistic Perspective of Entrepreneurship

Humane, Sustainable, and Harmonious Entrepreneurship: Shifting to a More Holistic Perspective of Entrepreneurship

Saturday, August 21, 2021, by Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

Entrepreneurship can be sorted into various sectors of disciplines, each impacting our lives and the world around us in different ways. Alone, each of these practices possesses the power to make long-term, positive change, both in the corporate world and in our communities. However, we must challenge ourselves to push humane entrepreneurship one step further. By integrating these practices and their ideologies, we gain the ability to improve our society in entirely new ways. Intersectionality is vital to humane entrepreneurship, as we cannot practice human-centered entrepreneurship without also taking action to protect our environment and human rights. While we work to combat global issues such as COVID-19, climate change, and inequity, entrepreneurs exist at the forefront of ensuring the health and wellbeing of our communities. By understanding the interconnectedness of these issues, we can adopt a more holistic view of entrepreneurship and actively improve the world with newfound strength in unity.

 

One of the main objectives of humane entrepreneurship is to produce engaged employees through High-Performance Work Systems (HPWS), which empowers and enables employees to embrace creativity and take innovative risks. Building upon this framework, Dr. Jeff Hornsby, Director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship Innovation, argues that integrating HPWS with Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) can “generate human and social capital and produce an innovative workplace culture based on such elements as enablement, empowerment, equity, and empathy.” In addition, Human Resource Management (HRM) greatly impacts the human and social capital within a firm, which is the primary source of innovation in a humane company; therefore, HPWS, EO, and HRM combined ultimately build the foundation for a successful humane enterprise. The result is engaged employees working towards a better society for a company they believe in.

 

As the fundamental goal for humane entrepreneurship is prosperity for our companies and communities on a human level, we must also consider the state of the environment in which we are building these enterprises. Particularly in our post-pandemic society, we are now being afforded the unique opportunity to reconsider what kind of cities, jobs, and entrepreneurship we genuinely need. Sustainable entrepreneurship uses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 12 as a concrete guideline for tackling interconnected carbon emission footprints, gender equality, and quality education. To uphold these intentions, Professor Analia Pastran, founder and CEO of Smartly Social Entrepreneurship on the SDGs, asserts that we must boost sustainable options, create effective green agendas for the younger generations, and support legislation to provide entrepreneurs the legal framework to implement SDGs. Analyzing SDG 12 in this way, it becomes clear that humane and sustainable entrepreneurship are inherently connected and must work together to create a healthier society.

 

Considering entrepreneurship and the environment, we need to consider the effects of corporations and MSMEs alike on our planet and communities. Although entrepreneurship can be a strong tool for creating jobs, wealth, and innovation, it can also contribute to environmental pollution and unsafe work environments. The reason for this lies in leaders valuing profit over people and the planet, which points to the importance of educating entrepreneurs on the triple-bottom line. According to Professor David Kirby, co-founder of Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society (HES), “We were put on this planet to look after it. Therefore, we must take care of the human environment, as well as the physical environment.” From this standpoint of compassion, an evident means of protecting both people and the planet is converging economic, sustainable, humane, and social entrepreneurship underneath the umbrella of harmonious entrepreneurship, which is based on the understanding of the planet as one extensive system with many interconnected subsystems.

 

This intersectionality in entrepreneurship serves as the key for unlocking solutions to the universal issues facing us. By adopting a more holistic view of entrepreneurship, we conclude that no human issue stands alone. In solving problems like climate change and inequity, and advocating for human rights, integrating different entrepreneurial sectors allows us to stand together, stronger and more capable than ever before.

 

Watch the session below for more on humane entrepreneurship, SDGs, and the benefits of integrating different entrepreneurial approaches.

Alternative Investments and Pink Diamonds

Alternative Investments and Pink Diamonds

Alternative Investments and Pink Diamonds

Tuesday, August 17, 2021, by Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, PhD

There has always been a great allure to owning diamonds among investors worldwide. Investments in precious stones and gems fall under the category of alternative investments and collectables with a high-risk factor. Argyle mine has been well-known for supplying natural-coloured diamonds, including white, champagne, cognac, blue, violet, and extremely rare and highly-priced Argyle pink and red diamonds.

 

The Argyle Diamond Mine was established in 1983 in the East Kimberley region in Western Australia. Argyle mine quickly took leading positions and was classified as the largest diamond producer based on the volume in the world. Last year, in November 2020, the Argyle mine announced its closure after 37 years of production and delivering a staggering 865 million carats of rough diamonds. This announcement has made a significant impact on the world diamond market due to the fact that Argyle mine was supplying up to 90% of all pink diamonds. Due to the drastic reduction in supply, the anticipated increase in prices is expected to affect the world diamond market. The 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is set to present to the world a final collection of extraordinary diamonds, and all the closing bids must be submitted by the 1st of September 2021.

 

There are many layers of certifications that have to be done to assess the precious stones. The price of each stone depends on many factors such as cut, clarity, shape and colour. Typically, darker shades of pink, which are close to purple, are very rare and, as such, have a much higher value. Once you have decided to purchase precious stones from an auction house or dealer, you have the right to insist on independent assessment. Generally, it is common that two different evaluations of stones will provide different prices. Precious stones and gems trading is typically conducted in illiquid markets with quite high sales commissions. There is a drastic difference in the retail and wholesale gemstones prices and quality. It is essential to follow the strategy of buying at a low wholesale price and selling at a higher retail price.  

 

Trading in precious stones presents many challenges due to the lack of stringent taxonomy in the quality standards. For any new investor, it is difficult to distinguish between different types of diamonds and, as a result, they try to seek an expert opinion of value based on the quality of the stone. There are many cases when inexperienced investors become involved in a scam and end up losing their money. Thus, it is vital for any investor to understand, research, and educate yourself about the potential risks associated with precious stones investing choices. For investment portfolio diversification, it is essential to keep in mind not to overexpose their investment position to high-risk investments and keep it to a lower level. Always have proper insurance in place for precious stones and keep in mind that the long-term strategy of owning your investment position might not work to your advantage, should the supply of rare stones, such as pink diamonds, increase due to the findings of new pink diamonds deposits.

Author

Dr Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka is Global Certificates Manager at ICSB, a Higher Degree by Research Supervisor at Excelsia College and Adjunct Academic at the University of Technology  Sydney, Australia. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka held teaching and senior academic management positions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and Australia. She specialised in general investments, personal and corporate superannuation investments while working for Westpac Banking Corporation and BT Financial Group in Australia. She was invited to join The Housing Connection, a not-for-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia as Treasurer and Board Member from November 2019. Her research interests include entrepreneurial finance, traditional and alternative ways to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate finance, policies for the small business sector, innovation and SMEs, FinTechs and Blockchain. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka is the Associate Editor for the Journal of the International Council for Small Business (JICSB). 

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 3 – Do You Have the Right Business Model?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 3 – Do You Have the Right Business Model?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 3 – Do You Have the Right Business Model?

Wednesday, August 4, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

Even if you have the right venture opportunity (discussed in Part 2 of this series), without the right business model your venture is likely to fail. Once you have identified and screened your opportunity well, the next step is to determine how you will make money from this opportunity. This is where your business model decision comes in. In short, a business model is a framework for making money. It outlines the set of activities that the enterprise will perform, how it will perform them, and when it will perform them to create customer value and earn a profit. I have argued for many years that the right venture opportunity always requires the right business model. 

Your business model is central to the firm’s success. Thus, the right the business model should answer the following questions:

  1. How will the enterprise make money?
  2. How will the enterprise create value?
  3. For whom will the enterprise create value?
  4. What is the enterprise’s internal source of sustainable competitive advantage?
  5. How will the enterprise position itself in the marketplace?

Successful entrepreneurs also ask themselves the following questions with regard to the business model.

  1. Where is the money?
  2. Who has the money?
  3. How do I get the money?
  4. What do I need to provide to get the money?
  5. How do I get it faster than anyone else?
  6. How do I get it time and time again from the same customer?
  7. How can I add other revenue streams later?

A major component of your business model is your revenue model. There are several revenue model options for you to consider including: production model (manufacturing), subscription, licensing/royalty, and franchising. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and you should examine which one makes sense to you given your specific opportunity and business context. Voice of consumer is very valuable in determining which revenue model is right for your given the customer you are seeking and how they wish to do business with you.

It is critical for you to target the right customers with the right business model. You must focus your efforts and determine which customers you wish to serve (target market/segment) and how much of each customer’s needs you want to serve. What is also very important for you to consider is not only creating recurring revenue but also obtaining incremental revenue. In fact, many customers can produce more than one source of revenue (e.g., buying a car and having it serviced). Moreover, some customers might wish to buy a product, but others might wish to lease, rent, or rent-to-own a product. An enterprise that only wishes to “sell” its product may be losing out on other potential lucrative revenue streams!

In summary, it is critical that you develop the right business model for your venture. In fact, without one, you are not very likely to attract venture financing. And, just like you would vet your opportunity with your potential customers, you also want feedback from those potential customers about your proposed business model. This input will help you determine how to best configure your venture to create value for your target market as well as select the best strategy for making money and sustaining the growth of your enterprise. 

Author

Frederick Crane serves as a Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr. Crane is an Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the College of Business at Northeastern University; Former Editor of the Journal of the Academy of Business Education; and co-founder of Ceilidh Insights LLC – an innovation management training, intellectual property consulting
and consumer insight company. He was formerly a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of New Hampshire and a Chair and Full professor at Dalhousie University.

At Northeastern, he developed the graduate new venture creation course; the undergraduate innovation course – which is now taught campus-wide; and developed the online MBA course on innovation and enterprise growth. He also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Every semester at least one of his teams from his new venture creation course goes on to commercialize a business.

Citation of Article:

Crane, F. (2021, August 4). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 3 – Do You Have the Right Business Model?  The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette. https://icsb.org/the-entrepreneurial-journey-part-3-do-you-have-the-right-business-model/

Humane Entrepreneurship and MSMEs in a Dynamic World

Humane Entrepreneurship and MSMEs in a Dynamic World

Humane Entrepreneurship and MSMEs in a Dynamic World

Sunday, August 1, 2021, by Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

In championing people first, humane entrepreneurship inhabits a unique role in the business world as inherently human-centered. In light of the pandemic, the necessity of humane entrepreneurial practices has become more apparent than ever before. As we contended with COVID-19 head-on, many MSMEs saw governments responding swiftly in support. However, while we seek prosperity in our post-pandemic society, we must ask ourselves three essential questions: Will this government support continue? How can MSMEs recover in the aftermath of COVID-19? Finally, how can we actively support MSMEs, not only from a business standpoint but on a human level? With values of empathy, equity, and environmental protection, humane entrepreneurship provides the answers.

The journey towards humane entrepreneurship was initiated five years ago by Drs. Ayman El Tarabishy, President & CEO, ICSB, and Ki-Chan Kim, Professor of Management at The Catholic University of Korea and former ICSB president. On the opening day of ICSB’s second annual Human Entrepreneurship Conference, Professor Kim presented research that examined how humane companies retain happier employees, customers, and environmentally healthy communities than traditional business models. These “Firms of Endearment” outperformed the overall market by a nine-to-one ratio over ten years in terms of profitability and performance. This is because companies that invest in human capital as the chief source of innovation create High-Performance Work Systems (HPWS). As a result, employees experience elevated levels of engagement and creative empowerment.

Humane entrepreneurship has a simple recipe, wherein each element activates the next: 1) empathy, 2) empowerment, 3) enablement, 4) proactiveness for an opportunity, 5) risk-taking, 6) innovativeness, and 7) performance. Professor Kim argues that the first element of a successful company is a CEO with a clear mission. When a CEO works not only for profit but also for a philosophical goal, they attract like-minded employees who feel inspired to strive for positive change. As stated by author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, “Humane entrepreneurship is to hire people who believe what you believe.” This shared philosophy in improving society serves as the backbone of any successful enterprise.

Building upon this mission, the CEO must also be empathetic, positive, and considerate. When a CEO opens discussions, encourages involvement, and supports employees in their responsibilities, they create a culture where employees arrive at work engaged both physically and mentally, motivated to accomplish their communal goal. Essentially, integrating these pillars of humane entrepreneurship creates a HPWS that produces engaged employees who are enabled to take innovative, creative risks and achieve higher excellence. Creativity is the key to a successful company and is achieved with the humane entrepreneur’s superpower: empowerment.

Ultimately, we arrive at three factors for a successful company: 1) a visionary CEO, 2) empathy and 3) empowerment and enablement. When entrepreneurs manage their employees’ experience in light of their mission, they directly affect their sales and performance to achieve the best possible outcome for their company, employees, and community. In his presentation, Professor Kim posed this question: “What is an enterprise?” Citing Colin Mayer, the former dean of Said Business School at Oxford University, we understand that “the purpose of a business is not to produce profits” and that an enterprise is “the most productive place to solve problems on the planet.” In essence, a humane company is a place that challenges the corporate status quo, and a humane entrepreneur is a person who takes action to make their vision for a better world a reality.

To learn more about the humane entrepreneurship model, watch the session below.

Author

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy is the deputy chair and a teaching professor in the Department of Management at the George Washing University School of Business. His expertise involves entrepreneurship and the creative, innovative, and humane-focused practices existing within the field. Dr. El Tarabishy now sits as the President & CEO of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), the oldest and largest non-profit organization across the globe devoted to advancing small business research and practices. The Council stands as a coalition of over a dozen national organizations, being represented in over eighty countries.

 

Dr. El Tarabishy is an award-winning author and teacher. In 2019, the George Washington University New Venture Competition awarded Dr. El Tarabishy the kind honor of being named the ‘Most Influential Faculty.’ Having developed the first Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity courses offered to MBA and undergraduate students, El Tarabishy is constantly striving to find the perfect balance between tradition and modernization in his teaching pedagogy. Currently, Dr. El Tarabishy is the sole faculty member in the GW School of Business to teach in two nationally-ranked programs.