In 1996, the American David L. Birch was the first person to receive the Award, which then was called the International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research. The Swedish professor Bengt Johannisson, who received the Prize in 2008, was the 13th and last Winner of the Award under its original name. From 2009 the Award has changed names to the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research.
The Award is given to a scholar who has produced scientific work of outstanding quality and importance, thereby giving a significant contribution to theory-building concerning entrepreneurship and small business development, the role and importance of new firm formation and the role of SMEs in economic development.
The Award was launched in 1996 and consists of the statuette “The Hand of God” and 100,000 euros.