For entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), scaling their companies is not easy. Challenges to finding talent and marketing products or facing a lack of funding, can stifle even the most resourceful entrepreneurs.
Reducing the barriers to scale for these entrepreneurs is crucial, not just for developing a healthy entrepreneurship ecosystem, but for creating jobs and contributing to economic growth in the MENA region.
The Wamda Research Lab’s first study, The Next Step: Breaking barriers to scale for MENA’s entrepreneurs, offers critical insight into the current challenges that entrepreneurs face to growing their companies, to provide policymakers and stakeholders with the information needed to build a supportive ecosystem in the MENA region.
The following statistics are the study’s main findings.
1. MENA’s growing ecosystem: The Wamda Research Lab finds that there are currently over 140 organizations actively working with entrepreneurs in the region. Tweet this stat.
2. Signs of enterprise growth: Over 60% of the surveyed companies with 3-year Compound Annual Growth Rates (CAGR) have added jobs over the past 3 years. Tweet this stat.
3. Signs of scaleups: 20% of the surveyed companies with 3-year CAGR’s are scale-ups - companies more than three years old with employment growth of 20% or better. Tweet this stat.
4. UAE Expansion: 39% of the entrepreneurs we’ve surveyed plan to open new offices or deepen their presence in the UAE in 1 to 2 years. Tweet this stat.
5. Saudi Expansion: 38% of entrepreneurs surveyed plan to open new offices or deepen their presence in Saudi Arabia in 1 to 2 years. Tweet this stat.
6. Scaling is difficult: 60% of experts surveyed say that scaling is the most challenging phase for entrepreneurs in MENA. Tweet this stat.
Barriers to scale:
7. Generating revenue: 41% of the entrepreneurs surveyed say that the biggest obstacle to generating revenue is marketing products. Tweet this stat.
8. Obtaining investment: 35% of entrepreneurs surveyed say that a lack of funding in the ecosysytem is a barrier to obtaining investment. Tweet this stat.
9. Building a team: 63% of entrepreneurs state that finding talent is a barrier for building teams. Tweet this stat.
10. Expanding: 47% of surveyed entrepreneurs say that an inability to find partners limits market expansion. Tweet this stat.
Profiling these entrepreneurs:
11. Founder age: The average age of the entrepreneurs who took part in the Wamda Research Lab study is 32.5 years. Tweet this stat.
12. Number of founders: 39% of companies surveyed have 2 founders; 33% have 1 founder, 16% have 3 and 12% have 4 or more. Tweet this stat.
13. Gender: 77% of all surveyed founders are male; only 23% are female. Tweet this stat.
14. Education: 48% of entrepreneurs surveyed have a Bachelor’s degree and 40% have an advanced degree. Tweet this stat.
15. Experience abroad: 74% of surveyed companies have founders who have studied or worked abroad. Tweet this stat.
16. Resources: 78% of surveyed entrepreneurs have used their personal savings to finance their companies. Tweet this stat.
Read the entire report to see more, including the Wamda Research Lab's recommendations for easing the process of entrepreneurship.