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ICSB: 2021 Trends

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The dawn of 2021 finds the world in a state of tension and uncertainty. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been dramatic and catastrophic for many businesses and entrepreneurs around the world. Governments are looking to each other as well as the private sector to forge new solutions to the problems facing us in these volatile times.

Although the pandemic has altered much of our previous expectations of 2020, there are still many positives and plenty of opportunities for businesses to take advantage of during these times. Looking forward to 2021, there are numerous trends that offer glimpses of solutions for those that are bold and innovative enough to take them. Here are ICSB’s top trends for 2021.

The articles featured on this page are free to access, via this page only, until 30th June 2021.

A word from the President & CEO of the ICSB

“It is our belief, as an organization looking at the research and talking to distinguished experts that are working on the ground with SMEs, that we put forth our projections for small businesses and their supporters in the coming year.”

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy, President & CEO of the ICSB, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Small Business Management

Ayman El Tarabishy

Trend 1: Womenpreneurs

Empowering women, especially in leadership, is one of the most straightforward and cost-effective ways businesses can improve themselves. We do not have to reinvent the wheel to create a more prosperous and equitable world. We have to recognize the value of those who have been overlooked for far too long and put those people in the best places to succeed.

High‐Growth Women’s Entrepreneurship: Fueling Social and Economic Development
Diana Hechavarria, Amanda Bullough, Candida Brush & Linda Edelman
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 57, 2019 - Issue 1

Financial inclusion for MSMEs and women’s economic empowerment
Martín García Moritán
Journal of the International Council for Small Business - Volume 1, 2020 - Issue 1

Female‐Led High‐Growth: Examining the Role of Human and Financial Resource Management
Richard A. Devine, Gonzalo Molina‐sieiro, R. Michael Holmes Jr., & Siri A. Terjesen
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 57, 2019 - Issue 1

Trend 2: Humane Entrepreneurship

Small businesses must prioritize the well-being of their employees and the sustainability of their business practices. This is paramount across all industries. We have seen the consequences that companies face when they fail to prioritize human and environmental health. The assurance of wealth creation and continued operation only occurs when your employees and customers are confident that your business cultivates an environment of safety and health. This commitment to humane and sustainable business practices and investments will continue to develop into an even more critical metric in determining small business success today and in the future.

Digitalization, Consumer Social Responsibility, and Humane Entrepreneurship: Good news from the future?
Roberto Parente
Journal of the International Council for Small Business - Volume 1, 2020 - Issue 1

Humane entrepreneurship: Some steps in the development of a measurement scale
Roberto Parente, Ayman El Tarabishy, Antonio Botti, Massimiliano Vesci & Rosangela Feola
Journal of Small Business Management - Latest Articles

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Trend 3: Small Business Resilience

We are beginning with a simple yet intrinsically complex question: how can we innovate with limited resources in a way that will create products and services that are accessible to all? In taking a step back, we might see the solution more easily; we must do better with less. In introducing the concept of frugal innovation, we can begin to think about how SMEs can escape the volatility of crisis and change and eventually start finding solutions that uplift the values of ingenuity, empathy, and resilience.

Introduction: Small Business and Networked Innovation: Organizational and Managerial Challenges
Massimo G. Colombo, Keld Laursen, Mats Magnusson & Cristina Rossi‐lamastra
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 50, 2012 - Issue 2

Gazelles, ponies, and the impact of business angels’ characteristics on firm growth
Annalisa Croce, Elisa Ughetto, Stefano Bonini & Vincenzo Capizzi
Journal of Small Business Management - Latest Articles

Trend 4: Digital Distinction

There is no flexibility in the modern business world without a digital presence. The tools exist for small businesses to create an online, global platform that can work towards solutions for various societal needs with very few input resources. The future of education is digital, and tying your business's investment in digital presence to skills training or other educational opportunities is a smart, cost-effective way of growing your footprint.

Does using latest technologies impact new venture innovation? A contingency-based view of institutional environments
Kholoud Mohsen, Saadat Saeed, Ali Raza, Suha Omar & Moreno Muffatto
Journal of Small Business Management - Latest Articles

Personality traits and the digital entrepreneur: Much of the same thing or a new breed?
Cesar Bandera & Katia Passerini
Journal of the International Council for Small Business - Volume 1, 2020 - Issue 2

L’Exposition Universelle d’Humane Entrepreneurship

The International Council for Small Business (ICSB) invites everyone to our hybrid Congress, hosted in Paris, France, from July 12th to the 17th to showcase their creative ideas, inventions, inspirations, and achievements in entrepreneurship for the advancement of small businesses worldwide.
Find out more

Trend 5: The End of the Status Quo

MSMEs have power and can play a crucial role in shaping the destiny of their businesses. They have actions and options available that they can take to minimize the disruption to their businesses. MSMEs must educate themselves to understand the supply chain, how it works, and how it affects their business in various ways. It is also essential for them to know and understand the alternative actions that can be taken. Many voices, many perspectives, and many heads can be better than one. Silence will not end the struggle, but letting our collective voices be heard can influence positive action.

Entrepreneurial potential and potential entrepreneurs: 25 years on
Norris Krueger
Journal of the International Council for Small Business - Volume 1, 2020 - Issue 1

Unpacking the emergence of born global founders: A careers perspective
Robert J. Pidduck, Margaret A. Shaffer, Yejun Zhang & Daniel R. Clark
Journal of Small Business Management - Latest Articles

Trend 6: Equitable Embodiment

We have to begin centering the experiences of marginalized, atypical actors who have suffered on the old business ecosystem's periphery. To form companies, nations, and people who work for equitable solutions for all, we must agree to unearth the past that has created these inequalities and challenge the present that continues to recreate them.

A Gender‐Aware Study of Self‐Leadership Strategies among High‐Growth Entrepreneurs
Bari L. Bendell, Diane M. Sullivan & Matthew R. Marvel
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 57, 2019 - Issue 1

WE Conference

Women dare to pursue creative solutions for greater global impact. Join them. July 12-16, 2021. Hybrid Event. Hosted in Paris, France.
Find out more

Trend 7: STEM

It is inspiring and motivating to see the evolution of STEM moving so quickly. However, we should not assume that equality and fairness will necessarily follow the STEM fields' growth. We must continue to be conscious of the need to focus our STEM efforts on gender equity and other efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Determinants of Graduates' Start‐Ups Creation across a Multi‐Campus Entrepreneurial University: The Case of Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education*∗
Maribel Guerrero, David Urbano, James A. Cunningham & Eduardo Gajón
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 56, 2018 - Issue 1

Lean Startup: Operationalizing Lean Startup Capability and testing its performance implications
Rainer Harms & Mario Schwery
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 58, 2020 - Issue 1

Trend 8: Arts

Not only should entrepreneurs be looking to the arts for growing opportunities for collaboration, but our need for arts highlights a missing piece in many of our entrepreneurship education programs. By restructuring how we look at the interaction between the arts and entrepreneurship, we will create products and services that feed an essential need for all local and global communities. Art accessibility will become an even greater topic of interest as we situate ourselves in the post-COVID-19 world.

Entrepreneurship Unleashed: Understanding Entrepreneurial Education outside of the Business School
Tobin Turner & Peter Gianiodis
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 56, 2018 - Issue 1

Trend 9: Cities

The map will be reconstructed, and the current trend encourages the most innovative and entrepreneurial talent to see the world as its new home—unconstrained by borders. Teams no longer have to come to a major urban city to launch, fund, and scale their companies. Suburbs and even some rural areas can position themselves as a destination and a home for entrepreneurs of any size and in any location. The reason is simple: nature is evolving and changing the playing field, and a new balance is underway. The human relation to space is rapidly changing as we realize that business resources are not necessarily confined to a specific geographic location.

Intra‐cluster Knowledge Exchange and Frequency of Product Innovation in a Digital Cluster
Nasiru Taura & Dragana Radicic
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 57, 2019 - Issue 2

Multibrand, multisystem and multirole franchising: A qualitative exploration and framework development in Brazil
Marko Grünhagen, Manuel González-Díaz, Dildar Hussain & Haroldo Monteiro da Silva Filho
Journal of Small Business Management - Latest Articles

Trend 10: Family Business

Continue to emphasize and encourage the creation and sustainability of family businesses. Each family's legacy will continue to help them see who they are and understand what defines them as a cohesive collective. This nature of "togetherness" ties family businesses easily with Humane Entrepreneurship, meaning that other, non-family firms can look to the guidance of family businesses' human-centered approach as a model with which to align themselves.

Family Firms, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development
Alan Carsrud (Visiting Research Professor and Docent) & Marco Cucculelli (Associate professor)
Journal of Small Business Management - Volume 52, 2014 - Issue 2

Watch Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy break down the Top 10 Trends for 2021

Dr Ayman El Tarabishy discusses 2021 business trends

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
Editor in Chief
Journal of Small Business Management

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The primary purpose of the Journal of Small Business Management (JSBM) is to publish scholarly research articles in the fields of small business management and entrepreneurship. As the official journal of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), JSBM is recognized as a primary instrument for projecting and supporting the goals and objectives of this organization, which include scholarly research and the free exchange of ideas.

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    The Journal of the International Council for Small Business (JICSB) is an official publication of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB). Its mission is to promote and share knowledge, accumulated through observation, research and experimentation of passionate researchers, educators, policy-makers, and business owners, that will elevate micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) to have a more positive impact on their local communities and on their stakeholders.

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