UAE - Nearly two-thirds (63%) of UAE respondents in the Entrepreneurship in the Mena survey would like to be self-employed or have their own business if given the choice.
Conducted recently by Bayt.com, a top job site in the Middle East, and market research agency YouGov, the survey found that even among those who are employed, 64% are currently thinking of starting their own business. 20% of respondents have tried to start their own business in the past, while 7% never thought of establishing a new company.
Freedom to choose work-life balance (44%), personal fulfilment (41%), ability to give back to the community (40%) and high monetary gains (39%) emerge as the top reasons for preferring to be self-employed.
Those who have already started their business seem to have similar reasoning. When asked about the reasons Mena professionals have for starting their own business, the top answers were ‘greater independence in what I want to achieve’ (32%) and ‘wanted more income’ (32%).
On the other hand, 30% of UAE professionals claimed they would prefer to seek employment in a company. The main reasons are having regular income (40%), learning new skills (39%) and stability of employment/ job security (34%).
Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com says: “Entrepreneurs are part of this rapidly changing landscape where many businesses are adopting entirely new ways of work that will not necessarily revert to pre-crisis conditions. Our annual survey aims to identify the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship to help entrepreneurs maximise impact and drive growth and innovation in the economy.”
Most popular industries
The most appealing industries for entrepreneurship are considered to be Commerce/ Trade/ Retail (12%), Real Estate/ Property Development (12%), IT/ Internet/ E-commerce (9%) and Consumer Goods/ FMCG (7%).
UAE entrepreneurial ecosystem
Entrepreneurship continues to be a growing trend in the UAE. Despite the given challenges of setting up a business, Bayt.com research indicates that entrepreneurship has become more popular than ever before with many entrepreneurs looking to grow their startups and establish business. In fact, over 6 in 10 respondents are planning to hire for their business in the next year.
Of those who are self-employed in the Mena, 60% took the first step to establish their business in the last 5 years. When it comes to the current stage of their business, 35% of the self-employed are at the startup stage of the business, 27% claim that their business is well established and performing well. On the other hand, 21% say their business is established but currently not performing well.
One-third of respondents (33%) have personal ambitions to grow their business further in their country of residence, followed by 24% who aim to become an important international player and 24% aim to become a major international group.
The top concern of UAE respondents while setting up their own business, would be procuring finances to start (56%), establishing the right contacts (40%) and the uncertainty of profit/ income (36%).
Mentoring and support
The survey shows even greater benefits of entrepreneurship for societies and the economy. The perceived image of entrepreneurs in the region is very positive – UAE respondents perceive entrepreneurs to be opportunity-driven (82%) and they help in creating new jobs (85%).
The best pieces of advice offered to budding entrepreneurs by Mena respondents is to not be afraid of failure (44%) and have a great business plan (12%). Over a quarter of respondents (30%) believe that innovation is the key to success as an entrepreneur, followed by employing the right people (24%) and access to funding (22%).
Zafar Shah, Research Director at YouGov said: “Entrepreneurs are the primary source of new job creation, increasing innovation and eventually creating a stronger economy. Our latest survey explores the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship in the UAE more deeply, using the data to produce new and deeper perspectives.”
Data for the Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2022 was collected online from June 22 to July 19, 2022. Results are based on a sample of 2,727 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Sudan among others.
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