Almost seven in ten professionals across the Middle East prefer to be self-employed, while 73 percent are currently thinking of starting a business, according to The Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2019 survey by Bayt.com and YouGov.
Entrepreneurship continues to be a growing trend in the MENA region, with individuals looking to create the next Souq.com or Careem – in the UAE, in particular, 69 percent of residents aspire to be self-employed/have their own business.
When asked about the reasons for this preference, ‘freedom to choose work-life balance’ (54 percent) and ‘personal fulfilment’ (42 percent) were the top answers. ‘Being my own boss’, ‘ability to give back to the community’ and ‘higher monetary gains’ were also give as reasons.
UAE professionals who have started their own business said they did so because: more income (33 percent), wanting to do what they love (27 percent) and having a great business idea/concept (25 percent).
Of those who prefer to work in a company, 42 percent stated the main reason is having a ‘regular income’, while 40 percent said they prefer employment to help them learn new skills.
Omar Tahboub, general manager, Bayt.com, said: “Not only does Bayt.com conduct surveys annually and share our learning about the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship for the benefit of the sector, we also work closely with start-ups and new businesses to ensure their talent needs are secured easily and cost-effectively during these critical early stages.”
Over a third of respondents have personal ambitions to grow their business further in their country of residence (35 percent), followed by 23 percent who aim to become an important international player.
The top concern for setting up their own business, would be procuring finances to start (62 percent), and the uncertainty of profit/ income (45 percent).
The most appealing industries for entrepreneurship in the UAE are considered to be consumer goods/ FMCG (11 percent) and IT/ internet/ e-commerce (10 percent) followed by commerce/ trade/ retail (10 percent) and hospitality/recreation/entertainment (9 percent).
The perceived image of entrepreneurs in the region is very positive – UAE respondents believe they are opportunity-driven (85 percent) and they help in creating new jobs (83 percent).
Over a quarter believe that innovation is the ‘key to success’ as an entrepreneur (28 percent), followed by ‘being close to clients or customers’ (22 percent).
Data for the Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2019 was collected online from May 16 to 27, 2019. Results are based on a sample of 3,331 respondents from: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and others.