We as human leaders, employees, businesses, etc. must, in fact, change ourselves and our attention in order for the SDGs to work.

Being the Change, You Wish to See

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals seem to be the most united and comprehensive guide in which our global community might simultaneously survive and heal its inequalities that have been plaguing our world. Resulting from historical injustices, the world is far from equal. As mentioned earlier in this series, the concept of Humane Entrepreneurship (HumEnt), regarded on a large scale, poses our only survival mechanism to enable the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, one grand mistake that we are collectively recreating in regards to sustainable change and promotion of the SDGs is that we forget that we as human leaders, employees, businesses, etc. must change ourselves for the SDGs to work.

More clearly, the achievement of the SDGs is not solely a means to create a more just world; however, more so, they are the end, the results of our ability to highlight and focus our attention on the humane, or to care for our fellow humans. Currently, many, but certainly not all, enterprises are focusing on profit. They forget the power of benefit, meaning the potential benefit an enterprise could have on its community, its customers, and the environment. That is why I pose that the SDGs’ success will be determined by our ability to instill, or at least introduce, the principles of Humane Entrepreneurship to our students, mentees, and future leaders in their formative years.

By nurturing future and current entrepreneurs, and in so doing, exhibiting the principles of HumEnt ourselves, we might be able to demonstrate a tangible image of how the Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved. Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals is much more than sharing the 17 goals and understanding how they work interconnectedly with each other; it is about helping learners understand how they both affect and are affected by the Sustainable Development Goals. It is in seeing how we are part of the same system for which the SDGs were created that will ultimately allow us to move beyond accepting the current injustices of the world as just “how it is” and understanding how, by refocusing our values, we might create the world anew.

It is for this reason that ICSB has concurrently launched the SDG certificate program and the ICSB Educator 300. These two programs are dependent on each other. In building the Educator 300, ICSB is committing to gathering a group of educators who are ready to evolve so that entrepreneurship education can adapt to societal changes. However, to prepare educators for the future ahead, training in the study and practice of HumEnt is essential. The SDG certificate program complements this new educator platform as it both helps to provide educators with the necessary knowledge of today while introducing the results of including HumEnt in program design and instruction.

Humane Entrepreneurship is not only for the boardroom. It is a lifestyle choice. To center empathy, equity, enablement, and empowerment in our teaching and leading is a decision that we must make for ourselves. The future is bending towards HumEnt, and we, at ICSB, want to prepare all our members for this mighty change. These changes are right at our fingertips, let’s decide to welcome these future changes, and in turn, be the changes we are so accustomed to studying. The future begins with us. 

Let’s get started.

Article by:

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