A majority of youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) plans to establish their own business because of less job opportunities available after the recent Arab Spring, according to a recent survey.
There is widespread interest in business ownership; in every country surveyed as large proportion of respondents said that if given the choice they would prefer to be self-employed, or own a business.
An online survey has revealed that while the Arab Spring had an immediate negative impact on the economy in the region, its effect has been positive in driving higher interest in both economic and social development. The survey was conducted by jobsite Bayt.com in partnership with the Programme on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Centre on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law as well as research and consulting organisation YouGov. About 40 percent of respondents expressed interest in being self-employed, with the lowest being 29 percent in Algeria and the highest being 52 percent in Lebanon.
As far as the reasons are concerned, 50 percent of respondents said that they started a business because they wanted greater independence. The second and third most popular reasons are tied to economic necessity and reasons: 27 percent said it was because they could not find a job at that time and 20 percent said because of higher income.
Rabea Ataya, chief executive officer of Bayt.com said: “Our data shows that over a quarter of entrepreneurs in the Arab world were motivated to start their own companies due to lack of job opportunities. Therefore, as a result of recent economic challenges in the region, we should expect to see a growing interest in entrepreneurship as a way to drive income and a growing contribution of the SME sector in providing jobs.”
Respondents also seem open to the idea of working in the field of social entrepreneurship. In general, the percentage of respondents not interested was higher in the Gulf countries; roughly 17 percent of respondents in Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, and 20 percent of Emiratis.
Data for the Bayt.com, Stanford and YouGov Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector and Arab Springs survey was collected online from December 22, 2011 – January 16, 2012, with 12,518 respondents from the GCC (UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain), Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan) and North Africa (Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia).
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