Zayed University Launched Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report on Entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates

01 Jul 2010


Zayed University launched the 2009 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report on entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates which was prepared by Zayed University experts in collaboration with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). The GEM report was created with the objective to collect relevant harmonized data on an annual basis from different countries and to bring together academics from all over the world to work on a common research program. 42 countries are participating in this research activity and this is the third participation for the UAE.

Zayed University organized a press conference for this occasion in its office in Knowledge Village. Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice President of Zayed University, Dr. Ahmed Khalil Al Mutawa, CEO of Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and Mr. Alexander Williams, Strategy and Policy Director of Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development, on behalf of Mr. Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development, participated in the press conference.

Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim stressed on the importance  of the GEM report that was prepared by a team of specialized faculty from Zayed University for the third time, given the interest of entrepreneurship specialists and those interested in this field. The report presents new concepts and ideas that will help decision makers prepare suitable strategies and accomplish unique outputs. Zayed University is keen in presenting such initiatives in collaboration with different corporations, as well as national and international universities and organizations.

"The Global Entrepreneurship Report is an important document and an essential reference for all stakeholders to promote and deepen the culture of entrepreneurship in the community," says Dr. Ahmed Khalil Al Mutawa, CEO of Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.

"Khalifa Fund aims to support a culture of leadership and initiative, encouraging innovation and empowerment of local Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to contribute to the social and economic development of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi," says Dr. Al Mutawa, "and this report outlines essential policies and procedures to assist in the development of entrepreneurship." 

"Khalifa Fund has launched several initiatives designed to instill leadership values within different sectors of society. For example, Sougha is an initiative offering support to artisans specialising in traditional handicrafts - while other targetted initiatives also include mechanisms to stimulate innovation, creativity and leadership."

"Khalifa Fund is also cooperating with various research and scientific bodies to establish an integrated database to help bring about a qualitative leap in the field of entrepreneurship, assures Dr. Al Mutawa, while praising Zayed University's efforts in this regard. "

"The Fund will also release an Entrepreneurship Report for UAE Citizens in October."

Mr. Abdul Basit Al Janahi  said, "Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of economic and social development and measuring its impact is critical to any policy and programme intervention.  Our end goal is to create more value-add for the United Arab Emirates' economy and society.  We must support as much as we can to stimulate an enabling environment for our residents to just start when they are mentally prepared.  Besides encouraging more people to start businesses, we must also focus on the qualitative aspects by encouraging more design thinking and innovation in business modeling, training and capability development". We need to create more smart businesses. The 2009 GEM report for the United Arab Emirates revealed that a vast majority of new business creation in the last 2 years is opportunity rather than necessity-driven, reinforcing the point that the United Arab Emirates continues to present vast business opportunities for entrepreneurs. One major area to strengthen is to continue to celebrate risk taking and encourage the entrepreneurship effort by individuals.  Another area is to deepen the quality of entrepreneurship by encouraging innovation, especially technology innovation, adoption and adaption at the local, regional and for the global markets. While the United Arab Emirates Government will do its best to make the nation the land of business opportunities that is conducive to investors, entrepreneurs, professionals and artists; the private sector stakeholders, namely the banking and finance community must increase their support to enable entrepreneurs and SMEs with sound business ideas and models to access finance and capital for growth".

"I congratulate all parties for delivering a rich piece of research effort that offers practical policy recommendations and advocacy to improve the entrepreneurship and enterprise development landscape in the United Arab Emirates.  Let us keep the momentum going", he added.  

Dr. Mouawiya Al Awad, Director of Institute for Social and Economic Research at Zayed University, said the three key objectives of this project are to measure differences in the level of entrepreneurial activity among countries, to uncover factors determining the national levels of entrepreneurial activity and to identify policies that may enhance the national level of entrepreneurial activity. The report shows that UAE has the highest participation rate for young businesses and TEA firms and the second highest rate for business start-ups compared to other countries at a similar stage of economic development. When compared to other GEM Countries, the impact of the global economic crisis on starting or growing a business in the UAE has been relatively mild.

In order to continue to foster and stimulate SME development moving forward, the reports recommends public education reform, development of innovation capabilities, foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst public sector employees, improving access to finance for SME's, continued regulatory reform to ease doing business in the UAE, increased support for female entrepreneurship and opening up government support programs for all UAE residents.