UAE. Entrepreneurship is a source of economic growth in all parts of the world, and in many Middle Eastern countries it is one of the main economic drivers. Bayt.com, the Middle East's leading job site, teamed up with YouGov, a pioneer in online market research, to ascertain the current levels of understanding and interest in entrepreneurship in the UAE.
The'Entrepreneurship in the MENA' report found that a vast majority of UAE professionals (73%) would prefer to be self-employed, citing'personal fulfillment' (50%), 'freedom to choose work-life balance' (46%), and 'the ability to be their own boss' (35%) as the primary reasons for this preference.
On the other hand, over a quarter of respondents (23%) said that they would prefer to seek employment in a company, as opposed to setting up their own business. Based on the study, over two thirds (68%) of employed UAE professionals are contemplating starting their own business, while 11% have already attempted to do so in the past but either "could not do so" or "failed to do so". Another 11% also admitted that they had never thought of starting their own business.
The route to entrepreneurial success in the UAE
When it comes to the best time to start a business, it seems that 'mid-career' (45%) and 'at any time' (40%) are the most popular times among UAE professionals. Other respondents believe that the right time to set up a business is either 'after a lengthy career'(9%) or 'right after college' (5%).
Regardless of the best time to start a business, 'not being afraid of failure' is by far the best advice to give to aspiring UAE entrepreneurs (44%). Other important tips include: 'performing an extensive amount of market research' (15%), 'having a great business plan' (10%), 'having a great marketing plan' (10%), and 'having a great business idea (7%).
As for the best industries for entrepreneurship, UAE respondents feel that 'Hospitality and Leisure' (19%),'Advertising/Marketing/Public relations' (13%), and 'Architecture and Engineering' (13%) are the most favorable options for aspiring entrepreneurs. This is followed by 'Communications/Information Technology' (12%), and 'Finance/Insurance/Real Estate' (11%).
To ensure business continuity and success, respondents cite three key factors, including 'being close to clients or customers' (37%),'employing the right people' (23%), and 'innovation' (18%).
Challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the UAE
Professionals in the UAE who have tried to start a business in the past but couldn't or failed to do so faced certain challenges which prevented them from success. Finances are a common theme amongst respondents when it comes to listing their business concerns. Over half of UAE respondents (54%) claim that the 'uncertainty of profit/income' is a top concern, followed by 'procuring the finances to start' (48%), 'the need to establish the right contacts' (33%), 'hiring the wrong people' (32%), and the 'need to put in a lot of time, energy and effort' (30%).
Almost half of the employed respondents (47%) claim that it is difficult to start a business in the UAE. In addition, almost two thirds (63%) agree that easing the law and regulations for setting up a business would immensely improve the UAE's entrepreneurial landscape. This is followed by 'facilitating access to skilled labor' (12%), 'reducing taxation' (11%), and 'regulating competition among businesses' (11%).
"Entrepreneurship has been a proven driver of both economic activity and innovation in the UAE, which is why the government should take note of the fact that laws and regulations with regards to starting a business are amongst the top concerns for locally-based entrepreneurs," said Suhail Masri, VP of Employer Solutions, Bayt.com. "We believe collaboration is a top priority for the public and private sector, as well as professionals looking for a job.
In an effort to provide a channel for cooperation and exchange, Bayt.com offers Bayt.com Specialities, a platform where established business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the UAE can share knowledge and interact before making the decision to work together. The website also provides special hiring packages to new business owners looking to hire top talents."
Masri continued: "Our database of more than 25.7 million job seekers enables us to offer new start-ups access to the best and most varied pool of candidates in the Middle East to help them meet their hiring needs and grow their business."
Arleen Gonsalves, Associate Research Manager also added: "Despite many challenges, entrepreneurship is fast emerging as a transformational megatrend in the UAE providing both a personal sense of fulfilment and the ability to be your own boss. It also plays a vital role in the economic development as a key contributor to innovation and new job opportunities. There is a long way to go to reach a mature entrepreneurial landscape in the UAE, but the opportunities are sufficiently large and with better support from the government it will further accelerate the trend."
Data for the Bayt.com 'Entrepreneurship in the MENA' report was collected online from May 30 to July 24, 2016, with 715 respondents from the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.