ISBC History & Host Cities

In early 1973, the District Director in Hawaii of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Mr. David Nakagawa, discussed with Dr. Kikutaro Takizawa, Professor of Nagoya University in Japan, the need for and the value of a conference for small business, including government officials, trade and financial organizations, academics and others working with small businesses in the Pan Pacific area. The first “Pan-Pacific Small Business Conference” held in Honolulu in 1974 was very successful, attracting 125 representatives from 16 countries.

Due to inquiries from around the world after the success of the first conference, representatives from Japan realized that the conference should not be confined to the Pan Pacific countries, and the name “International Symposium on Small Business and the Second Pan Pacific Conference for Small Business” was coined. At the 10th conference held in 1983 in Singapore, the name was changed to International Small Business Congress. By its 35th edition, ISBC had been attended by a total of more than 21,000 participants throughout the world.

By 2013, the ISBC has been held in 25 countries and 38 cities (some cities hosted more than once), as follows:

Amsterdam (Netherlands), Anaheim (USA), Athens (Greece), Bangkok (Thailand), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Berlin (Germany), Helsinki (Finland), Honolulu (USA), Interlaken (Switzerland), Jakarta (Indonesia), Johannesburg (South Africa), London (UK), Macao (China), Malaga (Spain), Melbourne (Australia), Nashville (USA), Nagoya (Japan), Ottawa (Canada), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Seoul (Korea), Singapore, Stockholm (Sweden), Taipei (Taiwan), Tel Aviv (Israel), Tokyo (Japan), Toronto (Canada), Warsaw (Poland), and Washington DC (USA).

The inaugural African ISBC was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2012, attended by 744 delegates and more than 50 speakers from 38 countries. It comprised a Congress and a major exhibition. The Congress was officially opened by the Honourable Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa, Dr Rob Davies. It was attended by several African Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and representatives of the Pan African Parliament.