Wamda and Microsoft for Startups have published a research report on the impact of Covid-19 on the state of mental health and wellbeing of entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in partnership with EMPWR and H.A.D Consultants.
The report marks the first time that data has been recorded on the mental health of entrepreneurs in the region and identifies the extent of the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of the region’s entrepreneurs.
Founders typically endure higher stress levels when compared to the general population, and are twice as likely to develop depression. Their stress levels have been further compounded since the outbreak of the pandemic, resulting in a rise in demand for mental health and wellbeing services in the region.
“The impact of Covid-19 on the state of mental health and wellbeing of entrepreneurs report” features findings based on data collected from 101 startup founders from across the Mena region. More than a third of founders rate their mental health as “bad”. The vast majority (55 per cent) of the respondents said that raising investment has caused them the most stress. The pandemic was the second most-cited reason for entrepreneurial stress with 33.7 per cent of all founders facing struggles, a rate identical to those struggling with scaling their business.
The report also includes top tips for founders from Dr Naif Al-Mutawa, an entrepreneur, clinical psychologist and clinical hypnotherapist who is the founder of The Soor Center in Kuwait. He is currently developing a tech startup that would allow for mass scale of mental health services in the region.
"The thing is with entrepreneurs there’s a lot of risk, you have to take the risk, understand what it means, it has to be calculated, not everything is going to go the way you want it to go," he says. "You have to know from day one that 90 per cent of businesses won’t get funded and the ones that do get funded, 90 per cent of them will fail - and you must still feel like you can take this on."
To mark the launch of the report, Ally Salama, founder and CEO of EMPWR, a UAE-based digital media agency dedicated to mental health, joins the latest episode of the Wamda podcast to discuss where the mental health sector in Mena is headed.
Concern for mental health wellbeing is on the rise across the region, with 40 per cent of founders stating they would like access to mental health support from the wider entrepreneurship ecosystem.
As part of the report launch, and with the aim to initiate awareness towards the mental health of entrepreneurs in the region, Mena's healthtech startups have joined forces to offer their fellow entrepreneurs access to mental health support by extending their services, and offerings to fellow entrepreneurs. This initiative contributes to the shift in the cultural view on mental health across the region.
Participating healthtech startups include My Wellbeing Lab, Takalam, Mindtales, and H.A.D Consultants from the UAE, Labayh from KSA, O7 Therapy from Egypt, as well as Nafas from Oman. More details on how to get access to the offered benefits can be found here.
To access the full report, please click here.