Environmental Sustainability and Global Finance

Environmental Sustainability and Global Finance

Environmental Sustainability and Global Finance

Tuesday, July 20, 2021, by Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, PhD

Back in 1987, when United Nations introduced the definition of sustainability, it emphasised that sustainability is about responding to the needs of the present without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their own needs[1]. In the early 1990s, Triple Bottom Line (also known as People, Planet, Profit) was introduced by John Elkington. He advocated for business reporting, which provides information about the economic, environmental and social performance of business entities[2]. In September 2015, the General Assembly implemented the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the principle of “leaving no one behind”[3]. This Agenda emphasised an all-inclusive approach to attaining sustainable development for all. According to OECD data, many countries are taking action, but progress is insufficient to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The adoption of renewable energy is on the rise; nevertheless, it still represents 11% of energy supply and 27% of electricity production in the OECD[4].

 

The public disclosure of information about the social and environmental impacts of business operations has become widespread since the early 1990s, typically among large companies worldwide. The Global Reporting Initiative[5] (GRI) provides a conceptual framework and guidance for social and environmental reporting. The GRI Reporting Framework provides direction on reporting an organisation’s economic, ecological and social performance. It was created for application by businesses of any size, sector or location.

 

Climate and environmental impacts will be at the heart of global finance. Can profitability and sustainability co-exist? In answering this question, it is vital to emphasise that long-term profits will not matter if there is no planet. Overall, if we continue to underestimate the importance of environmental resources and our role in promoting sustainable behaviour, this could lead to highly detrimental outcomes for the planet. Thus, there is an immediate urgency for educating everyone concerning climate risk and their role in promoting sustainability.

 

We are already witnessing green start-ups that provide various tools that measure storm and flood risks and assess the level of pollutions created by businesses. In the financial services industries, many green FinTechs successfully combine finance and technology while promoting and embedding sustainable behaviour among customers. For instance, digital banks allow their customers to round-up their transactions to support tree planting, give cash-back for using climate-friendly business services or products, provide green loans for various solar energy projects and deliver a customised analysis of customers’ spending to emphasise their carbon emissions footprint and sustainable behaviour. Other FinTechs provide online app-based wooden credit cards with the portion of profits going to reforestation projects; introduce loyalty programs based on carbon points that can be converted into products and services with selected business partners that promote climate-friendly sustainable behaviour.

 

There is an onset of transformative generational wealth handover from baby boomers to millennials, with new business leaders becoming increasingly attentive to climate risks. Thus, they tend to choose sustainability in business operations. According to an EY study, millennial investors are almost twice as likely to invest in businesses or managed funds that target specific social or environmental goals, and 90% of them want sustainable investing as an option within their pension/superannuation plan[6]. Originally sustainable investing started in equities; however, over the years, government and private companies have been issuing various debt instruments to finance environmentally friendly projects.

 

There seems to be an assumption that carbon footprints and environmental impacts are mainly connected to large organisations. However, the MSMEs account for over 90% of all businesses worldwide. Thus, it is evident that MSMEs collectively are classified as significant polluters globally and there are increasing requirements for these enterprises to participate in and implement sustainable business practices. There is an urgency in educating entrepreneurs, MSME owner-managers and future business leaders in general, on how SDGs require changes to business finance, management and investment.

 

[1] United Nations Brundtland Commission, 1987

[2] www.hbr.org/2018/06/25-years-ago-i-coined-the-phrase-triple-bottom-line-heres-why-im-giving-up-on-it

[3] https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html

[4] https://www.oecd.org/environment/climate-data/

[5] https://www.globalreporting.org/

[6] www.ey.com/en_au/financial-services/why-sustainable-investing-matters

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 2 – Do You Have the Right Opportunity?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 2 – Do You Have the Right Opportunity?

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 2 – Do You Have the Right Opportunity?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

The entrepreneurial highway is riddled with the fractured bones and broken dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs who failed to mine the right opportunity. Why? Because some opportunities are simply better than others. Ultimately, you need the right opportunity and exploit it effectively or you will not achieve entrepreneurial success. 

 

There are actually three views regarding entrepreneurial opportunities. That is, opportunities can be recognized, discovered, or created. With opportunity recognition, the entrepreneur recognizes (deduces) that supply and demand are known to exist. The entrepreneur simply matches up supply and demand through an existing firm or a new firm (e.g., a franchise). When the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, you didn’t have to be a genius to recognize that there was going to be demand for facemasks given government mandates to protect the population! So many entrepreneurs jumped on that opportunity to supply masks.

 

With opportunity discovery, the entrepreneur inductively determines that either supply or demand exists (not both), and the other side has to be discovered. For example, there is demand for cures for certain illnesses but no supply, and there was a supply of personal computers (when first invented), but demand had to be discovered. Again, with the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical firms rushed to be the first to supply vaccines given that there was and is plenty of pent-up demand for such. Finally, with opportunity creation, the process used by the entrepreneur is abductive (inference), and neither supply nor demand exists in any obvious manner, and one or both may have to be created (e.g., new social media platforms). This is the concept of market creation – real newness.

 

I suggest that the right opportunity should possess the following characteristics:

 

  1. It creates significant value for customers by solving a significant problem or filling a significant unmet need for which the customer is willing to pay a premium price.
  2. It offers significant profit potential to the entrepreneur and his or her investors—enough to meet their risk/reward expectations.
  3. It represents a good fit with the capabilities of the entrepreneur and the management team—that is, you have the experience and skills to pursue it.
  4. It offers sustainability over time.
  5. It can obtain financing.

Also, the right opportunity will have validation from the intended customer. In short, the true litmus test for the right opportunity is whether or not the customer thinks it is a good idea, finds it valuable and distinctive, and would be willing and able to pay for it. Therefore, voice of customer (VOC) plays a major role in determining whether or not you are mining the right opportunity. You might think you have the right opportunity, but it is confirmation from the customer that is most important. So, you cannot sit in your room crafting a business plan. You have to get out there, in the marketplace, immerse yourself with the intended customers – and listen! Then, you will know if it is the right opportunity. And, if is it then the hard stuff begins; constructing the right business model; crafting the right brand, and executing the right go-to-market strategy. These are opics we will cover in the next parts of the entrepreneurial journey.

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.

Crane, F. (2021, June 29). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 2 –Do You Have the Right Opportunity?. The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette. https://icsb.org/the-entrepreneurial-mindset/

Ethical Finance

Ethical Finance

Ethical Finance

Monday, June 21, 2021, by Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, PhD

Climate changes have initiated many transitions and shifts across government and industry sectors to reduce the negative impact on the environment worldwide. With every new and existing business comes great responsibility for making climate-friendly decisions. To align with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, new and existing businesses in the financial services sector must foster better conditions for forming ethical finance behaviour. The starting point is to embed achievable sustainability targets into the business models and strategic plans and introduce quantifiable approaches for measuring the impact of financing on the environment. The transparency and accountability of sustainable behaviour are of paramount importance for all businesses. 

 

Over the past years, government and private companies are issuing various debt instruments to finance environmentally friendly projects. The beginning of the Sovereign Green Bonds’ era took place in 2016 when Poland issued the inaugural Green Sovereign Bond to reduce the reliance on coal and transition to the lower-carbon targets. France became the second country in the world that issued the sovereign green bond in 2017, with many other governments following the suit. China’s first batch of Green (carbon neutral) Bonds was issued in February 2021 with the aim to reduce carbon emissions.

 

The Blue Bond market was created in 2018 when Seychelles, with assistance from the World Bank, launched USD15 million blue bonds to develop the economy while preserving the marine areas. Blue bonds represent new financial instruments for funding marine projects aimed at ocean conservation. 

 

The Transition Bonds have also been growing in popularity and were originally introduced for industry sectors labelled as heavy polluters to start the transitioning process from brown to green status. Whereas Nature Bonds have a broader purpose and aimed at making sovereign debt connected with biodiversity and carbon neutrality to achieve net-zero emissions. With the World Bank’s assistance, Pakistan is planning to offer this year the very first Nature-performance Bond as part of the climate mitigating strategy and assist with recovering from the global pandemic.

 

The demand for climate-friendly and socially responsible investments is on the rise. The Social Bonds were created to assist vulnerable groups of society in improving their lives. The first Social Impact Bond (SIB) was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2010 to reduce recidivism. It was evident that after just a few years, there was an increase in the SIBs with the US, Australia, Canada and South Korea following an example and introducing the path for other governments to follow. Also, the introduction of the very first Wildlife Bonds by the World Bank this year is marking the beginning of funding projects aimed at protecting endangered species, such as rhinos in Africa. 

 

With the myriad emerging sustainable investment options, it is essential to understand the underlying projects, sustainability targets, risks and return. COVID-19 has contributed to a further increase in sustainability-link bond investments, allowing companies to establish business-wide targets and spend proceeds from funding on pre-determined projects. Companies promise to lower their carbon emissions and, if they do not meet these targets, they will have to compensate investors above promised return. At this stage, there are numerous terms in the financial markets worldwide that describe green investment options. Given the diversity of financial markets worldwide, it is essential to introduce taxonomy when classifying green projects. 

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 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Journey

Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Tuesday, June 1, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

Many people aspire to be an entrepreneur. But most do not really know what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Before you embark on the entrepreneurial journey you will need to seriously reflect on whether or not the journey is right for you and whether or not you are ready for the journey. Many experts suggest there are distinctive personal characteristics that are required to be a successful entrepreneur. Some have described this as the “entrepreneurial mindset.” There has been an age old debate as to whether an entrepreneur is born or is made. My research shows it is a bit of both – the classic nature and nurture phenomena. One thing is for sure, the entrepreneur is different from the non-entrepreneur. Less than 10 percent of our population are entrepreneurs, so they make up a unique niche within the population. So, what makes them different? And, do you have what it takes to become part of this special group of people?

 

My research shows that successful entrepreneurs share several key personal attributes that are necessary for the entrepreneurial journey. What I want you to do now is to be honest with yourself and reflect on whether you possess these key attributes and/or would be willing to acquire them? These attributes are: (1) dispositional optimism – the most important attribute – (2) persistence, (3) resilience, (4) work ethic, and (5) adaptive.

 

Dispositional optimism is a mindset that focuses on abundance not scarcity; that good things can and will happen; that one can achieve his/her objectives; and the glass is half-full and not half-empty. All successful entrepreneurs I have studied are extremely optimistic in life and in business. And, I suggest it is the most important attribute an entrepreneur can possess. In fact, it is an antecedent as to why entrepreneurs are persistent, resilient and work so hard. They did so because they believe positive outcomes can be achieved. Why would an entrepreneur work 100 hours a week to start and to grow an enterprise if they thought they would fail? Well, they don’t believe they will fail. And, contrary to belief successful entrepreneurs do not throw caution to the wind, they do not take excessive risk and they do not adhere to the fate, chance, luck or magic model of business. Successful entrepreneurs engage in calculated risk-taking using information to recognize, discover or create new business opportunities. And, entrepreneurs are adaptive. They flex and pivot given evolving conditions and situations around them. Sometimes best laid plans have to change!

 

Before you start the entrepreneurial journey you are going to have to do a head, heart and gut check – an honest check. If you get positive confirmation from all three realms of your being, then you probably ready for the entrepreneurial journey. It will be difficult and challenging but, more importantly, very rewarding and satisfying. But, this is just the beginning of your journey! In the articles that follow this one I will discuss the importance of the right opportunity, the right business model, the right brand and the right go-to-market strategy. This are all key elements that must be mastered on your own entrepreneurial journey.

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, June 1). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset. The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette. https://icsb.org/the-entrepreneurial-mindset/

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Tuesday, May 18, 2021, by Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

 

There are numerous investment options for traditional investment classes, such as real estate, precious metals, equity investments, fixed-income securities and cash. However, over the past few years, investors worldwide have witnessed a rapidly evolving alternative finance landscape. Cryptocurrencies or altcoins receive close attention from investors who are captivated by tremendous growth opportunities and fast and easy options to invest in them.

 

There are hundreds of different crypto exchanges around the world, each offering opportunities to buy cryptocurrencies. The majority of the exchanges have user-friendly mobile interfaces making it very easy to invest, but not all exchanges are trustworthy. When choosing a crypto exchange, it is important to compare many features such as costs, limits on withdrawing coins, lists of alternative currencies, transaction speed, trading volumes, and check if you as a user can control your digital wallet keys where your digital tokens/coins are stored. Crypto exchanges can be classified into centralised and decentralised. All centralised crypto exchanges follow the “Know Your Customer” registration process, which requires formal identification for all clients. These exchanges run their transactions on their private server and typically provide some level of insurance to protect their users if their system fails. Thus, it is essential to ask about your insurance coverage and, most notably, the amount of insurance. Decentralised exchanges do not have a central authority, and each computer inside the network is part of the server. Due to their decentralised status, they are not under specific monitoring of any regulatory body.

 

The security and safety of digital cryptocurrency tokens remain as significant concerns. Purchased cryptocurrency tokens need to be stored in a secure location. Numerous retail and institutional custodians provide services for storing your cryptocurrencies in a secure online wallet. You can also keep your digital cryptocurrencies on external devices and print keys on paper and store them physically in a safe box. However, some cryptocurrencies exchanges do not allow users to control their digital wallets.  It is necessary to understand the risk and return relationship in cryptocurrencies trading. The markets are speculative and highly volatile, so it is essential to do your research and remember you can rapidly lose your investments. It is crucial to check your tax implications for capital gains and losses when trading cryptocurrencies.

 

As one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is classified as a store of value coin, also known as “Digital Gold” among cryptocurrencies. The widespread Blockchain adoption was linked to Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. Bitcoin is differentiated from other cryptocurrencies by having a fixed supply of 21 million tokens which can be mined.

 

Recently, concerns were raised in relation to the Bitcoin network’s energy consumption as miners are continuously running computers to solve complex algorithms/puzzles to discover a new block. Once a new block is mined, the miners are rewarded with bitcoins. The University of Cambridge’s Centre for Alternative Finance has introduced the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, which shows that the yearly electricity consumption is 150.04-terawatt hours, which is expected to grow further. Interestingly, the amount of electricity consumed by the Bitcoin coin in one single year is sufficient to provide power to all kettles used to boil water for Europe and the UK for 5 years and meet the University of Cambridge’s energy needs for 853 years.

Author

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

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). 

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Monday, May 3, 2021, by Ruth Dwyer

 

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

– Marie Curie

Problem: Depression—lack of early detection leads to lost potential for individuals and society.

New Tech Implications:

  • Developments in sound recognition is promising for early diagnosis.
  • Telemedicine provides a convenient way for many patients to receive care that they would not otherwise engage with.

Change Hypotheses:

  • New technology available to help people self-diagnose mental illnesses virtually
  • Help doctors diagnose during visits
  • Increased publicity on how to treat early
  • New medications

Dream:

  • Everyone will have depression and anxiety diagnosed at its earliest stage
  • Increased healthy lifestyles
  • Decreased substance use
  • Increased productivity for the world

Marie Curie’s quote shown above points to so many truths. Today, I would like us to think about how the stigma attached to depression keeps us from knowing more about it. This lack of insight into an individual’s pain not only creates a bigger problem for that person, but also a big problem for the world.

Depression affects over 300 million people suffering from depression worldwide. Almost 800,000 people die by suicide a year*, AND IF treated early 80% and 90% of people with depression respond quickly to treatment and gain some relief from their symptoms within 4-6 weeks on a medication and/or therapy regimen**

Challenge Questions- What can we do?

Start at home:

  • Early detection
  • Ask these questions of yourselves and share them with you family/friends.
    • How are you feeling? When was the last time you went outside? Had fun?
    • Are you eating and sleeping regularly?
    • How do you feel about yourself? do you ever feel like hurting yourself?
    • How are things going with your friends?  Do you ever think they would be better off without you?

If these questions prompt a yes, please do not ignore them. Rather, look for information from trusted sources on the internet, talk to your doctor, a counselor, or call a helpline, and be sure you are safe.

Reflect more on safety with these questions:

  • What medications do you have in your house? Who can get to them?
  • Is there anything else in your home that could be used for self-harm?

Think local:

  • How are you, your family, and friends doing?
  • Is there someone who you have not heard from recently
  • If you have a business, where are our employee pain points?
  • Is there a way you can add- healthy habits into the workday?
  • Is there a way of serving customers that improves their social interaction/lifestyle?
  • Are there ways it can be modified to fit more or different needs?
  • Is it possible that the person that drives you nuts is driving you nuts due to a mental health concern? If so, how can you modify your interactions with them, to improve things?
  • Is there an appropriate place to post a hotline number for people to see?

Go Global:

  • How do you interact with the wider world?
  • Could you post a message of encouragement during National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week (May 18-23)?
  • Where are your financial investments?  Does your portfolio reflect your beliefs in how to promote a healthy lifestyle?

My response to the challenge:

Over the years, I cannot count the number of children I’ve know whose lives have been affected by a family member’s depression, anxiety, or their evil triplet substance use. It is a problem that is almost always more convenient not to deal with in the short term. Like many things, however, ignoring it makes it worse. In fact, this is true more for depression than most of the medical illnesses I’ve helped treat.

As we enter the spring of our year with COVID, take stock of yourselves and those you know.  Seek help if you are currently worried about someone in your circle. I do not have an answer for coping with the devastation in any of your personal lives that depression and substance use have produced other than to again encourage you to find the energy and courage needed to seek professional help as needed.

My dream for how to impact depression and anxiety is both smaller and larger. It is smaller because I dream of minimizing its effects through early detection. It is larger because before people will accept a diagnosis or seek treatment any stigma associated with it must be eradicated. Larger, because attitudes are hard to change. As with most things the answers lay within each of us. I encourage you to become informed and challenge any assumptions you hold that do not fit the facts, or the kind of person you want to be.

The world has big problems, and everyone is needed to re-imagine solutions that meet the needs these problems create. We can’t move forward if we do not understand what forward looks like. Please help by sharing this post and engaging below.

I look forward to our conversation,

Ruth Dwyer, MD, FAAP

PS:

– Did you know April is stress awareness month?  Or that Depression Awareness Week is May 18-23? (As a student, this seems especially well placed for me, if only I had time to acknowledge it:)

– Did you know that in the US on the last Saturday in April The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been hosting the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day each year since 2010? (if you missed it this month- don’t stress over it they will do it again next October.)*. This is a great way to decrease people’s access to something that could be deadly. –It is especially important to think about if you have a teenager, they share.

( https://www.inspiremalibu.com/blog/news/national-prescription-drug-take-back-day/)

* Torres, Felix. “What Is Depression?” American Psychiatric Association, 2020, www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression.

**Bach, Natasha. “World Mental Health Day 2017: Illness in the Workplace Is More Common Than You Might Think.” Fortune, World Health Organization, 10 Oct. 2017, fortune.com/2017/10/10/world-mental-health-day-2017-workplace-depression-anxiety.

Author

Ruth Dwyer

Ruth Dwyer

Senior Project Manager

Dr. Ruth Dwyer. MD,  serves as the Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Pivoting pediatrician interested in social entrepreneurship, small businesses, and the SDGs. Ruth has worked on numerous medical startups. She enjoys painting, playing games, shooting hoops, and time with my family.

AACSB and Entrepreneurship: How An Accreditation Association is Paving a New Path Forward

AACSB and Entrepreneurship: How An Accreditation Association is Paving a New Path Forward

AACSB and Entrepreneurship: How An Accreditation Association is Paving a New Path Forward

By: Ayman El Tarabishy, President & CEO, ICSB

Leonardo da Vinci once famously wrote, “To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” The polymath innovator was able to see in the 16th century what many in the 21st are just now learning: nothing in this world exists in a vacuum. We are all a part of a larger community with a duty to lean on each other in times of need. Where one of us fails, we all fail. Where one of us succeeds, we all succeed. If we want to drive forward progress, we have to all work together towards a common goal.

 

 

It is precisely this concept of a common goal and the interconnectedness of everything that led the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) to rethink, reinvent, and redesign their Business Accreditation Standards in 2020. Inspired by the motto to be a force for good in society, the team at AACSB––led by president and CEO Caryn Beck-Dudley––pulled inspiration from the world around them through this process. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic that turned the world as we knew it into something blurred and distorted, there was ample opportunity to construct new standards that would create a more precise, stronger future filled with a new generation of leaders encouraged to be the change they wish to see in the world.

 

 

At the 7th Annual California Entrepreneur Educators Conference (CEEC), Beck-Dudley opened the conference on da Vinci’s birthday with a keynote address that laid out exactly how the new standards were devised, signifying a change in how business schools would move into the future. Thinking about everything on a global scale, AACSB has accepted the responsibility of preparing the next generation of leaders to help societies grow around the globe. Whereas the old standards emphasized “hard” skills, including learning theory behind business practices, analyzing case studies, and researching data, the new standards are principles-based and outcomes-focused. In other words, they have been led by the concept of being proactive rather than reactive, finding upstream solutions to address a problem at its source, and pivoting to where a situation warrants through agility.

 

 

Keeping in the spirit of lifelong learning, AACSB redesigned the guidelines to let each business school shine in the light of their mission, visions, and values. Beck-Dudley emphasized that they needed to change the perception that the former standards were highly prescriptive. The team tackled this challenge by creating guidelines that empower entrepreneurship educators to have maximum impact on the greater good of society through creative means unique to their available resources. While deviations from the AACSB standards were discouraged in the past, that is not the case anymore. Today, ingenuity and agility are highly encouraged. Essentially, by leading with new guidelines, as opposed to strict standards, the schools have more room for creativity, innovation, and a pioneering spirit in hopes that new generations of entrepreneurs can feel supported as they learn through experience and not through theory alone. With these new standards, business schools will have more creative freedom within their programs, act with integrity based on guidelines rather than strict rules, and see the potential in and encourage entrepreneurial thinking that could change the world.

 

 

In addition to sharing the updated guidelines in her keynote, Beck-Dudley emphasized two significant behavioral changes needed for how the universities and their faculty operate. First, tying into the concept of everything in the world is inextricably linked. Business schools need to partner with other departments to solve the issues that lie before them. Suppose everyone stays solely in their respective lanes and forgets to communicate with one another. In that case, we will miss out on the essential collaboration and idea-generating results from considering a wide array of perspectives. Not only is it imperative that we share resources and ideas, but we also need to share our failures so that we can all learn from our mistakes, Beck-Dudley noted.

 

 

Furthermore, Beck-Dudley highlighted the importance of the older generations being open to change, as well. She discussed how the younger scholars in entrepreneurship are open to innovation and creative solutions. Still, it can sometimes be difficult for more established professors and researchers to do the same. In her own life, Beck-Dudley had to confront how she was resistant to change, as well. Hence, she empathizes with the reticence even while serving as proof that you can be an expert in your field and not only be open to new ways of thinking but eventually pave the way forward for future generations.

 

 

In many ways, the new AACSB Business Accreditation Standards embody the spirit of all that Humane Entrepreneurship represents. By seeing the new generation of business students and future entrepreneurs as whole human beings, by leading with empathy and other “soft” skills, we can change the way the world operates by focusing on the community as a whole. To complement this, Beck-Dudley shared feedback from test schools that first received the new standards. By being caring and genuine, with the best intentions in mind, the schools felt supported and optimistic about their futures, not to mention energized to find solutions to the challenges they faced.

 

 

By seeing the value in the entire business program, made up of unique and multifaceted beings with enormous potential, AACSB has demonstrated how important it is to give entrepreneurs the skills they need to flourish and not act as yet another limitation greatness that is human innovation. Meanwhile, the pandemic has proven that everything is connected, more than we ever thought possible before. We need to honor that and move into the future together, developing our business schools and our newest entrepreneurs and leaders accordingly. 

 

 

After all, Beck-Dudley posed the question in her keynote address, “If we’re not making a positive impact, what are we doing with our time?”

Certificate Program for Educators

Certificate Program for Educators

Certificate Program for Educators

Monday, April 26, 2021

 

Certificate Program for Educators

We are excited to launch our new certificate program- dedicated specifically for educators. The main goal of the program is to help educators – like yourself – to successfully teach the Market Opportunity Navigator and apply it in various educational settings: from accredited courses to practitioners’ bootcamps, for students, entrepreneurs, and business managers.

Learn directly from the tool’s creators:

  • Master the Market Opportunity Navigator – through real, hands-on practice
  • Design a well structured curriculum- for classroom teaching and practical workshops
  • Get acquainted with all our ready-made teaching materials- so implementation becomes easy
  • Join a lively community of like-minded educators

Who is this for?

  • Educators in entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing and strategic management courses
  • Program managers in accelerators and entrepreneurship centers
  • Trainers of innovation managers in larger organization

Signup today

  • The four interactive sessions will run online from May 4th- May 25, 2021
  • The program is limited to 20 participants

Click here to learn more and register:
https://wheretoplay.co/certificate-for-educators/

We look forward to seeing you in this program and helping you succeed with your teaching.

Cheers,

Dr Sharon Tal and Prof Marc Gruber
Co-creators of the Market Opportunity Navigator
Co-authors of the book “Where to Play”
www.wheretoplay.co

The Crucial Elements of the Financial Decision-Making Process

The Crucial Elements of the Financial Decision-Making Process

The Crucial Elements of the Financial Decision-Making Process

Thursday, April 22, 2021, by Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

 

The reality is that every business venture can, at some point, be exposed to financial instability.  In the case of MSMEs, lack of sufficient and timely access to finance is typically a leading reason for business failures. The consequences of becoming illiquid can have a detrimental effect on business operations, forcing them to declare insolvency. MSMEs are more susceptible to broader economic conditions, thus, smaller enterprises’ survival rates are low compared to larger entities as MSMEs generally do not have the long-term capacity to withstand economic downturns. The increasing numbers of MSMEs exits and failures exacerbated by the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic emphasise the importance of understanding the reasons that could lead to this extreme outcome.

 

Recognising how to manage and deal with unforeseen financial events is essential for every owner-manager. The crucial elements of the financial decision-making process include (1) financial decisions – choice between equity or debt funds and associated costs; (2) investment decisions – choice of purchasing long term assets and (3) operating decisions to either reinvest profits back into a business and/or distribute profits back to the owners. In general, there are five fundamental principles to starting a new business: (1) evaluate your current financial conditions; (2) state your financial goals; (3) develop an action plan to achieve your goals; (4) implement your financial goals for your business, and (5) monitor and control the progress and introduce changes where necessary.

 

It is vital to plan for your business’s financial success and, when making decisions, always assess costs versus benefits and implied risks. Financial information has a significant impact on many business decisions. Financial statements report on the past, which is not necessarily going to indicate future prospects with 100% accuracy, but it can be very important in examining and evaluating your past financial decisions. In order to perform the financial statement analysis, every owner-manager needs to investigate past and current financial information of the business, industry benchmarks and competitors’ key financial indicators. The key financial ratios allow you to analyse the solvency of the business, liquidity of the business, the profitability of the business, ability to service short- and long-term debts, among others.

 

Your business’s success depends on many factors, and the economic environment in which your business operates creates the path for the future direction. At times of economic growth, there is an increase in business activity which is supported by strong consumer spending. During recessions, economy contracts and consumers tend to stay on the safe side and become very cautious with their spending plans. Economic indicators such as unemployment rate, inflation rate, gross domestic product (GDP), stock market index performance, exchange rates, government regulations and support suggest its future direction. Understanding and then applying in practice elementary economic indicators will help you think like an economist/financier when making financial decisions. The budgeting process allows the owner-manager to plan for the future and create strategic business plans in order to sustain business stability. This is the time for owner-managers to make sound business decisions related to revenue sources, spending, saving, investing, and, if necessary, pivoting towards new business ideas.

Author

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, PhD, serves as the Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

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). 

Re-imagine Series: Imagine all the People Livin’ Life in Peace

Re-imagine Series: Imagine all the People Livin’ Life in Peace

Re-imagine Series: Imagine all the People Livin’ Life in Peace

Monday, March 29, 2021, by Ruth Dwyer

 

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down with devastating effects that will continue for years to come.  However, it is essential to take a moment and remember that this is not the first challenge the world has faced, and, despite wars, famines, and plagues, humanity has made great strides to improve the quality of life across the globe. We will recover and rebuild—that is certain, but towards what? What can you envision as the best possible world?

At this moment, I would like to dream about what is possible in a world motivated by hope and optimism. Many of the topics will align with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, yet I would also like to look further into the future toward how we might conceive of an indeed just world. I would also like to engage in cross-pollinating ideas and practical next steps for the average person, business owner, and educator. Since every big plan is made of multiple actions, everyone is needed. That is why I ask that you all please join me as we explore what the world could resemble and how we can actualize this exploration.

Each month, I propose a subject and hypothesis and my journey to engage with said topic.

This week the subject is scarcity. Maslow notes that the most basic human needs are physiological needs for food, shelter, warmth, and rest.   What would a world where everyone’s basic needs are met look like? As the world undergoes a demographic transition, how can technological improvements impact people’s lives?  Furthermore, what societal changes can we personally influence?

Problem: Scarcity

Change Hypotheses:

Energy production and systems will become clean(er), relatively inexpensive, and widely available.

Recycled plastics and 3D printers will be relatively inexpensive and widely available.

Dream:

Everyone will have shelter and basic needs met.

The value will be placed on each person’s unique individual contribution.

Challenge Questions:

Start at home: What is your unique combination of gifts?  Are you fully utilizing them?  How about those closest to you? What are their gifts? What do they need to develop further?

Think local: How does your business, job, or position meet a community need? Are there ways it can be modified to fit more or different needs? Do you see a condition that is not being met at all? Who are the people with the greatest need?

Go Global: How do you interact with the broader world?  Do you have the impact you want?

My response to the challenge:

As a pediatrician, I have encouraged people’s abilities and dreams for the past 20 years.  While immensely satisfying, I still heard the small whisper that knew I was not using all my gifts. I longed (and even longer) for a time when all people can make a living sharing their unique talents. So, in the Fall of 2019, I enrolled in the online MBA program at George Washington University, and I am now pursuing an interest in social entrepreneurism with an international twist. Micro, small, medium-sized enterprises are a cornerstone of this worldview. How better to seek a better world than through the expression, development, and sharing of one’s gifts?

I am still searching for how to generate more global impact. Through the internet, I have met people in more places than I could ever visit, and my dream for the world has become more expansive. This project, “Re-Imagine,” and the ICSB Womenpreneur “WE” program  (July 11-16, 2021 in Paris) are part of this journey.

The world has big problems, and everyone is needed to re-imagine solutions that meet these problems’ needs. We can’t move forward if we do not understand what the future looks like. Please help by sharing this post and engaging below.

I look forward to our conversation,

Ruth Dwyer, MD, FAAP

Author

Ruth Dwyer

Ruth Dwyer

Senior Project Manager

Dr. Ruth Dwyer. MD,  serves as the Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Pivoting pediatrician interested in social entrepreneurship, small businesses, and the SDGs. Ruth has worked on numerous medical startups. She enjoys painting, playing games, shooting hoops, and time with my family.