End of Year Message from ICSB President & CEO – Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy
Dear Esteemed Members and Supporters of ICSB
As we approach the close of an eventful year, I am delighted to share with you the profound journey that the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) has undertaken throughout 2023. This year has been exceptional, marking one of our organization’s most dynamic and impactful periods over the past five years. I’m excited to elaborate on the remarkable accomplishments that have defined our path.
- ICSB Congress: A Triple Triumph
For the very first time, we orchestrated the ICSB Congress across three diverse cities in South Korea – Seoul, Jinju City, and Gwangju. This pioneering approach showcased our adaptability and exemplified our commitment to innovation and our dedication to meeting the ever-evolving expectations of our esteemed members. It was a resounding success, demonstrating our ability to unite our global community in novel and engaging ways. A special thanks goes to our Chair, Dr. KiChan Kim, for leading the ICSB World Congress in S. Korea.
- UN MSMEs Day: A Global Phenomenon
The UN MSMEs Day, an initiative birthed by ICSB in collaboration with Argentina, has transcended borders to become a global phenomenon. Witnessing the widespread recognition and adoption of this critical day is incredibly heartening. Organizations like the OECD now hold events on June 27th, aligning with our vision of celebrating and supporting Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) worldwide.
- Pushing Boundaries and Shaping Discourse
ICSB has consistently led by pushing the boundaries of convention and championing ideas that may have been met with skepticism initially. The creation of MSMEs Day is a prime example. This year, our MSMEs Day theme of “Empowering Women and Youth in MSMEs,” despite initial skepticism, gained profound relevance and resonance following Claudia Goldin’s Nobel Prize recognition for her groundbreaking research on gender income disparities. We continue to set the agenda and redefine the narrative.
- Azerbaijan: A Visionary Choice
ICSB’s selection of Azerbaijan as the host for our SME World Forum was a decision that may have raised eyebrows initially but has proved visionary. The subsequent selection of Azerbaijan to host Cop 29 is not a mere coincidence; it reflects the nation’s spirit of innovation and forward-thinking. ICSB recognized this potential as early as 2021, and our choice has been validated. ICSB thanks our partner, KOBIA, for delivering an exceptional event.
- Research Excellence and Impact
Under the guidance of Drs. Eric Liguori, Katia Passerini, Jeff Alves, and me, our research endeavors have reached new heights. Our flagship journals (JSBM and JICSB) have enjoyed a banner year on multiple evaluation metrics. ICSB’s latest journal, JICSB, was included in the Web of Science Emerging Sources Citation Index. This marks a significant milestone, and this achievement will undoubtedly enhance the overall impact of our research efforts.
- Impactful Research for Communities
Our commitment to impactful research extends to community engagement. Our study on the origins of Korean Entrepreneurship is making a tangible difference in Jinju City, benefitting local MSMEs and the youth. We are also embarking on unique research ventures, such as exploring the intersection of entrepreneurship and religion. These topics, though unconventional, align with our tradition of pioneering initiatives that create meaningful change.
- Lemonade Day: A New Signature Initiative
The ICSB International Office Team, led by Skye Blanks, Ana Bradic, and Kyle Lyon, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative, Lemonade Day, as part of the ICSB Youth Initiative. This promising endeavor has the potential to become one of ICSB’s most crucial signature products in the next two years, empowering youth and nurturing entrepreneurship. Watch for this!
- Engaged Past Chairs and Board Members
Our immediate past chairs, Dr. Winslow and Mr. Ahmed Osman, have been tireless advocates for ICSB. Their representation at the 2nd Annual Arab SMEs Forum in Marrakesh, Morocco, has yielded positive impacts, and we eagerly anticipate further collaborations. Additionally, our esteemed board members, including Analia Pastran, Norris Krugger, Zakara Taib, and Rita Grant, have been at the forefront of essential initiatives, ensuring that ICSB remains at the cutting edge of entrepreneurship.
- A Year of Exciting Prospects
Looking ahead to 2024, our calendar is filled with exciting events. We are returning to Europe to host our 68th World Congress in Berlin, Germany, under the theme “Empowering Entrepreneurship for a Better Future.” Dr. Hartmut Mayer, ICSB Board Member and co-chair of the ICSB Congress in Berlin has assembled an expansive partnership group, setting the stage for a groundbreaking event.
- ICSB Congress: A Triple Triumph
- Africa – Our long-awaited Initiative
- Expanding our footprint in Africa is not just a professional goal; it’s a personal one.
- Africa has long been my focus because of its immense potential and vibrant
- entrepreneurial spirit. In March, we will reveal a sustainable plan for ICSB’s
- engagement in Africa, a continent with opportunities and possibilities. This initiative
- promises to transform the lives of countless MSMEs and drive economic growth
- across the continent.
- AI: A Catalyst for Transformation
- In a world rapidly transformed by artificial intelligence (AI), ICSB is on the cusp of
- launching a primary new website that leverages AI. This initiative will revamp our
- membership model and knowledge hub, positioning our site as the premier source of
- knowledge for MSMEs globally. It’s an exciting leap forward in our digital
- transformation journey.
As we approach the new year, let us carry the spirit of innovation, resilience, and collaboration that has defined 2023 into our future endeavors. Together, we are pioneering change, fostering innovation, and empowering small businesses worldwide. Our shared vision of a brighter future for MSMEs continues to drive us forward.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude to each of you, our members, partners, and supporters, for your unwavering dedication to the cause of entrepreneurship and small business. Your passion and commitment have been the driving force behind our achievements.
I wish you and your loved ones a joyful holiday season and a new year filled with prosperity, innovation, and continued success.
With warm regards,
Dr. Ayman ElTarabishy
President & CEO, ICSB