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Thursday, May 6, 2021 - Friday, May 7, 2021

Evolution of Small and Medium Enterprises in the 21st Century and Beyond


Important Dates:

  • Submission of Abstracts Deadline: March 29, 2021 – Please visit the conference website to submit abstract/paper/case study
  • Acceptance Notice Deadline: April 10, 2021
  • Early Bird Conference Registration Deadline: April 20, 2021 – Register on the conference website

As Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” While businesses constantly need to undergo regular transformations, there are some periods and incidents, such as the digital age and COVID-19, when businesses face an existential threat and need to drastically transform and evolve for their ultimate survival. Although the ability to successfully modernize an organization in our fast-paced, rapidly changing world is essential, most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up over 98% of total businesses across the world and are a large contribution to value added and employment, are lacking any will and/or capacity to evolve, with most of them still following old business styles. Additionally, minorities, such as immigrants, women, BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ communities, etc., face relatively more barriers while exploring business opportunities.

In this backdrop, the University of Guelph Humber is pleased to host an international applied business conference on the evolution of small and medium enterprises. The conference will be held virtually on Zoom May 6 – 7, 2021.

This conference aims at bringing together academic scholars, researchers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and students from around the globe for an opportunity to present case studies and discuss applied research papers, as well as to foster research collaborations. It will be an international gathering where participants will explore possible ways for businesses to succeed in this continuously evolving and fast paced environment, while learning from successful case studies from various parts of the world and contributing to open innovation. Acknowledging the invaluable contributions of minority entrepreneurs to their communities, participants will also discuss the contribution and challenges of black communities, people of color and women in business.

Proposals for applied research papers, case studies and panel discussions in all fields of business are welcomed, especially, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • open innovation
  • impact of the Pandemic on SMEs
  • transformation and survival of SMEs during pandemic
  • role of government policies and financial sector in SMEs’ survival and growth
  • minorities (Black, Indigenous and women) entrepreneurship
  • entrepreneurship education
  • entrepreneurship in low income or emerging markets
  • international and transnational entrepreneurship
  • role of entrepreneurship in economic development
  • AI and other technology-based venturing

Please note: We welcome work in progress and unpublished working papers. Students are encouraged to submit their research papers or case studies to present in the students’ symposium.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. Wim Vanhaverbeke, Professor of Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Surrey, UK
  • Dr. Nobuyoshi Yamori, Professor, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan
  • Dr. Wendy Cukier, Professor & Director, Diversity Institute, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
  • Mr. Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Toronto, Canada


The best papers will be awarded in each of the following categories:

  • Applied research
  • Case study
  • Student work

Publication Opportunities:

  • Selected papers will be reviewed for a possible publication in a SCOPUS indexed journal of Transnational Corporations Review, Taylor and Francis.
  • Papers can be submitted for a possible publication to the book ‘Disadvantaged Minorities in Business Entrepreneurship for Everyone’ published by Springer. See its Call for Chapters
  • Best papers and case studies will be considered for a possible publication in an edited book titled Impact of the Pandemic on Small and Medium Enterprises: International Case Studies, published by Routledge.
  • Full paper/abstract proceedings will be published in a digital format on the conference website.

Registration Fee:
There is no charge for authors with accepted papers to present in the conference, if they register by April 20.

  • Early Bird Registration (by April 20, 2021): Free
  • Regular Registration (after April 20): $100 CAD

For further inquiries about the conference, please feel free to contact Dr. Farkhanda Shamim at


Thursday, May 6, 2021
Friday, May 7, 2021
Event Categories:

Additional Info

Event is open to
U of G students, U of G faculty and staff, The public