GW October Annual ...

#GWOctober Annual Entrepreneurship Conference 2016

Promoting SMEs to Drive Growth

The World Bank Group and the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) are hosting the seventh GW October Annual Entrepreneurship Conference. The event will bring together policymakers and experts from around the world to share insights on how to support small and medium enterprises and promote entrepreneurship as a key driver of local growth and innovation.

WHERE: World Bank Group HQ (Preston Auditorium) and GWU School of Business, Washington, DC
ONLINE: Streaming at World Bank Live on October 13

Working at the World Bank Group?
Please RSVP to Abolanle

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an increasingly significant role in the socio-economic development strategies of many countries. For the past three decades, the private sector has been the main driver of economic growth and poverty reduction around the world. By encouraging entrepreneurship, governments have been able to increase wealth generation, market access, job creation, and skills development.

Join leading academic researchers, development experts, and policymakers from across the globe to share examples of successful SME policy programs; examine insights from policy design research; discuss the role of high-growth firms; and promote the importance of entrepreneurship as a key driver of innovation and sustainable development.

On October 14th, the conference will continue at the George Washington University Business School, for a number of paper presentations and workshops covering cutting-edge research on SME productivity and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

To learn more, please visit and review the Conference Agenda.


Day 1

9:00am – 10:00am           Registration/ Check-in

10:00am – 11:15am        The State of SME Policies and Support Programs

According to estimates, 600 million jobs will be needed in the next 15 years to absorb the growing global workforce, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. As key drivers of job creation, SMEs play a key role in the economic development strategies of many countries around the world. This panel will address the targets set by governments for SME policy development and help identify strategic priorities for improving business environments.


  • Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the US Small Business Administration
  • Mariano Mayer, Argentina National Secretary of Entrepreneurs and SME
  • Moderator: Luca Iandoli, President of ICSB

11:15am – 11:30am        Coffee Break

11:30am – 12:45pm        SME Policy Design and Evaluation: Insights From Research on Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Despite significant advances in the measurement and analysis of entrepreneurial activity, cross-country comparisons remain notably difficult. This panel will address the intersection of data and policy, and discuss how research can contribute to the design of national policy interventions as well as enable assessment of progress toward objectives.


  • Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Senior Economic Advisor, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Winslow Sargeant, ICSB Vice President of Data and Policy 
  • Moderator: Ayman El Tarabishy, Associate Professor at GWU and Executive Director of ICSB

12:45pm – 2:15pm           Networking Lunch

Participants will have the opportunity to network with organizations like Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, MIT Venture Mentoring Service, and Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard among others. There will be thematic tables including high-growth firms, social entrepreneurship, digital entrepreneurship, women’s entrepreneurship, etc.

2:30pm –3:30pm               Role of High-Growth Firms in Job Creation and Equitable Growth

In the 2007 OECD study to analyze the impact of high growth firms on employment creation, the OECD found from country studies that high growth firms constitute between three percent and six percent of all firms with at least ten employees.  Furthermore, the study found that these high growth firms contribute to a large share of the employment created.  Building on the findings of the report, the panel will analyze the key role played by SMEs in addressing important policy issues, such as reducing employment.


  • Denis Medvedev, Lead Economist, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Donna Kelley, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Babson College 
  • Kristin Schreiber, Director COSME Programme, European Commission 
  • Moderator: George T. Solomon, Professor at George Washington University

3:30pm – 3:45pm              Coffee Break

3:45pm – 4:45pm              Serving the Bottom of the Pyramid: Social and Humane Entrepreneurship

In 2015, the international community agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet, and ensure that people around the world can live prosperous and fulling lives.  Entrepreneurship and SMEs play an important role in achieving these goals in developing countries, especially for the bottom of the pyramid. A growing number of social enterprises are providing innovative solutions to serve delivery problems that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest communities. The growing support for social and humane entrepreneurship is rooted in the idea that sustainable business models must also aim to advance humanity and increase social inclusion.


  • Vani Seth, Director of Esoko 
  • Natalia Agapitova, Senior Economist, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Ki-Chan Kim, Professor of Business Administration at The Catholic University of Korea 
  • Ahmed Mohamed Shalaby, Managing Director of Tatweer Misr
  • Moderator: Liesl A. Riddle, Associate Professor of International Business at The George Washington University

4:45pm                                    Reception 

Day 2

Detailed Agenda of Paper Presentations and Workshops

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