10 Steps from Young Global Leaders Forum and Strategy& for Accelerating Entrepreneurship in MENA

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The Young Global Leaders Forum and Strategy& & Company released a report on Accelerating Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa, which was co-authored by Wamda’s CEO and Young Global Leader Habib Haddad.

The report, which aims to address the job creation challenge that the region faces, was announced at the World Economic Forum’s Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World yesterday.

The task is daunting- more than half the population is under 25, and the region will need to create around 75 million jobs by 2020- 40% more than there are currently.

Yet the report, which offers a definitive image of the ecosystem today, sets forth with 10 imperatives that all stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, companies, and entrepreneurs can follow to create a culture that viably supports entrepreneurship.

Throughout the World Econoimc Forum, Haddad stressed the importance of bringing all of these elements together to support growth. “As startups mature into small and medium-sized enterprises, they become significant contributors to employment and Gross Domestic Product, he said.

The report is chock full of statistics about funding gaps, enablers, number of entrepreneurial initiatives by country, that elaborate on these 10 imperatives:

1. Offer a Helping Hand. Established entrepreneurs should give time, advice, and seed funding to aspiring entrepreneurs.

2. Change Behaviors and Evolve the Culture. Discuss entrepreneurship every day, and generate hype around a handful of success stories.

3. Bring Entrepreneurship to the Classroom. Everyone in high school and university should learn entrepreneurial principles.

4. Bring Entrepreneurship to the Office. Companies should encrouage employees to unleash their own talent.

5. Don’t imitate Silicon Valley. Identify and leverage your country’s own unique resources.

6. Welcome New Ideas. Engage domestic and foreign workers to encourage a free flow of expertise and enterprise.

7. Break the Stereotype. Great entrepreneurial ideas can come from anyone in any industry.

8. Embrace the diaspora. Tap successful entrepreneurs living abroad for their advice and connections.

9. Eliminate Red Tape. Governments should give many kinds of support to all types of entrepreneurs.

10. Expand the Venture Capital Model. VCs need to go beyond funding and provide a support structure for entrepreneurs.

What tips would you add?

Download the report below. Here's a sample graph situating entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa globally.

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