The first-ever United Nations event included remarks from Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa and Professor of Management Ayman El Tarabishy.
George Washington University Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa and Professor of Management Ayman El Tarabishy spoke at the first United Nations (UN) Knowledge Summit on Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises—part of a UN resolution to recognize contributions of small businesses around the world.
The summit, held on May 11, is a commemoration of the creation of the United Nations International Day dedicated to Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day (MSMEs Day). The UN designated June 27 as MSMEs Day.
The summit was organized by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), which works to promote entrepreneurship and small business worldwide. Its international offices are located in the GW School of Business. Under the leadership of ICSB Executive Director and GW Professor of Management Ayman El Tarabishy, the international office helps coordinate the activities of ICSB in more than 85 countries worldwide.
Dr. El Tarabishy helped draft the resolution for MSMEs Day that was approved by the UN General Assembly on April 6, and organized the UN summit. Dr. Tarabishy opened the UN summit, which was attended by more than 250 participants from more than 15 countries, by recognizing youth leaders and students from GW who attended the event, as well as small businesses and female entrepreneurs from all over the globe.
In his statement, he also explained that 98 percent of all economies are represented by micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, describing them as the “engine of innovation and creativity.”
“MSMEs are important—everything we do in society deals with MSMEs. Most of the things you have in front of you were generated from MSMEs from all over the world,” he said.
Dr. El Tarabishy ended his remarks by introducing a violin sonata, commissioned in honor of the summit to symbolize the hope that MSMEs bring in help to tackle world challenges, articulated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
During the education leadership session at the UN, Dr. Chalupa highlighted GW’s efforts supporting business and entrepreneurship. He described the university’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship headed by Associate Vice President for Research Jim Chung and said that GW has been awarded two grants from the Innovation Corps program of the National Science Foundation. The grants fund efforts to promote the creation of start-ups and recruit teams to develop technologies for commercialization.
“Entrepreneurship inspires confidence and empowers. Entrepreneurship provides opportunity. It transcends typical lines of division. It lifts individuals out of poverty. Entrepreneurship creates leaders in business and in our communities,” Dr. Chalupa said.
In order to continue promoting growth and entrepreneurship and training small businesses, Dr. Chalupa urged university leaders, government experts, NGOs and nonprofit organizations to combine their strengths and move out of their silos.
“Together, we can spread the message of inclusive entrepreneurship and the power of small enterprise to anyone willing to listen,” he said.