Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The UAE's ongoing support for small and medium-sized enterprises has led to many residents thinking about starting their own businesses in the near future.
Over 55 percent of UAE residents prefer to be self-employed or have their own business, if given the choice, a new survey conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov has found.
The 'Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2017' survey revealed that even among those who are currently employed, 78 percent of respondents said that they are either thinking of starting their own business or have already attempted do so in the past.
When it comes to reasons for being self-employed, 49 percent of UAE respondents want to do it for 'personal fulfillment'; 43 percent believe it affords them the 'freedom to choose what to work on', and 42 percent believe it gives them the 'freedom to choose work-life balance'.
Those who have already started their own business seem to have similar reasoning. When asked about the reasons Mena professionals have started their own business in the first instance, the top three reasons were: 'greater independence in what they want to achieve' at 32 percent, 'more income' at 29 percent and a 'better work-life balance' at 28 percent.
The survey shows even greater benefits of entrepreneurship for societies and the economy. The perceived image of entrepreneurs in the UAE is very positive, with 86 per cent of respondents strongly agreeing or somewhat agreeing that entrepreneurs 'help in creating jobs', 79 percent strongly agreeing or somewhat agreeing that entrepreneurs are a 'source of innovation in society', and 75 percent saying that entrepreneurs 'create new products and services for the benefit of society'.
Furthermore, 69 percent said that entrepreneurs 'mentor young people and promote the entrepreneurial spirit' among others. "Many countries across the Middle East and North Africa have realized that entrepreneurship is a huge factor that drives growth and innovation in the economy," said Suhail Masri, vice president of sales at Bayt.com.
"As the survey showed, many entrepreneurs are seen as a source of value, innovation, and creating employment opportunities. Many startups are looking to hire and grow their businesses very soon."
Out of those who are self-employed in the Mena region, 68 per cent have started their own business in the last five years, 17 percent have started their business in the last 10 years, while 15 per cent have started more than 15 years ago.
That said, 36 percent who are self-employed are at the 'start-up stage' of their business; 22 percent said they have a 'well-established' business that is underperforming, while 22 percent have a well-established that is performing well.