Monday, June 23, 2008

Shhhh -- a big international confererence is here in Canada!

As I write this, the International Council for Small Business is holding its annual conference in Halifax, N.S. How do I know this? I read it on my blog.

You may not have noticed the new feature, Entre-News, at the bottom of the right-hand column on this page. It's a customizable newsfeed provided by Google based on keywords I select. I just installed it last week, and I change the keywords regularly. Last week I set it to "Calgary business" and then "Vancouver business," and tonight I changed the search term to "Halifax entrepreneur." And what pops up but news that the world's pre-eminent small-business research body is meeting in Canada this week for the first time since 1979!

The academics' theme this year is "Advancing Small Business and Entrepreneurship: From Research to Results." Though something tells me that if they were really interested in results, they might have informed this blog of the event. Okay, it's not just the blog - I'm also the only national small-business columnist in the country. You'd think they would let a guy know...

According to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald (it was my grandmother's favourite newspaper), the conference, which runs till June 25, brings together more than 1,000 policy-makers, academic researchers, educators, service providers and consultants focused on small-business entrepreneurship.

"The biggest outcome will be the sharing of knowledge and the building of global networks," says Annette St.-Onge, a senior vice-president with the council and vice-president of Solutions for Women Business Owners Inc.

Among the topics being discussed: startups in China, technology transfer in Tunisia, microcredit, the development of entrepreneurship education in Canada, Entrepreneurs as Educators, design thinking for small business, Creating a New Generation of Business Leaders in Atlantic Canada, Support for Aboriginal Entrepreneurs, top-down tourism strategies, characteristics of fast-growth businesses, hiring practices in small business, SME exporters, Strategic Planning for Social Enterprises, "Hidden Champions in Developing Countries," Improving the Business Environment at the Municipal Level in Latin America, "Entrepreneurship and the Role of Government in Post-Socialist Economies," and many more. That's just a sampling of today's topics.

Obviously, this is a conference for scholars and theorists, not practicing business people. We can only hope that some of their research will make it out of the ivory tower and into the hands of people who can use it.

For more information on the conference or topics discussed, click here.
Read the detailed workshop program here.

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