7 in 10 UAE Professionals want to start their own business

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The Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2019 survey, conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading career site, and market research agency YouGov, has found that nearly 7 in 10 professionals prefer to be self-employed. Moreover, 73% are currently thinking of starting a business, while only 7% never thought of starting their own business.

The survey found that, if given the choice, two-thirds (69%) of UAE 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%) and ‘personal fulfillment’ (42%) emerged as the top reasons. ‘Being my own boss’, ‘ability to give back to the community’ and ‘higher monetary gains’ were also cited reasons.

Those who have already started their business seem to have similar reasoning. When asked about the reasons UAE professionals have for starting their own business, the top three answers were: more income (33%), wanting to do what they love (27%) and having a great business idea/concept (25%).

Of those who prefer to seek employment in a company, (42%) state the main reason for their preference is having a ‘regular income’ while 40% said they prefer employment in order to help them learn new skills.

“Understanding the views of entrepreneurs in the MENA is essential to maximizing impact and drive growth and innovation in the economy,” said Omar Tahboub, General Manager, Bayt.com. “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 startups and new businesses to ensure their talent needs are secured easily and cost-effectively during these critical early stages.”

Entrepreneurship continues to be a growing trend in MENA. Despite the usual challenges of setting up a business, the Bayt.com report indicates that entrepreneurship has become more popular than ever before. Many entrepreneurs are looking to grow their startups and establish business. Over a third of respondents have personal ambitions to grow their business further in their country of residence (35%), followed by 23% who aim to become an important international player.

The top concern of respondents while setting up their own business, would be procuring finances to start (62%), the uncertainty of profit/ income (45%).

The most appealing industries for entrepreneurship in the UAE are considered to be Consumer Goods/ FMCG (11%) and IT/ Internet/ E-commerce (10%) followed by Commerce/ Trade/ Retail (10%) and Hospitality/Recreation/Entertainment (9%).

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 (85%) and they help in creating new jobs (83%).

The best pieces of advice offered to budding entrepreneurs by respondents in the UAE is to not be afraid of failure and having a great business plan. Over a quarter of respondents believe that innovation is the ‘key to success’ as an entrepreneur (28%), followed by ‘being close to clients or customers’ (22%).

Kerry Mclaren at YouGov said “Entrepreneurs are the primary source of new job creation. The ideas and innovations born in small companies and startups disrupt industries and create a stronger economy, offering greater opportunities for upward mobility. Therefore, it became imperative for us to explore upcoming entrepreneurs and what challenges they face in a new survey with Bayt.com.”

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 the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and others.

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