Women Entrepreneurship in the UAE

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One cannot refute the fact that women entrepreneurship has hit a media tipping point in the sense that women are now able to own properties in the formal sector. Women are founding companies at an alarming rate with more than 20 million businesses in the world owned by women (Kargwell 2012, p. 45). However, what is fascinating specifically is the way women from the UAE are establishing small and medium enterprises has the number of female entrepreneurs has grown over the subsequent few years. With reference to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report on UAE, there has been a stable upsurge in the rate of women who own businesses. Women entrepreneurs tend to be more successful due to their trusted status in the society (Kargwell 2012, p. 47). The educated women have taken a lead role in this historical transition followed by uneducated women who have strived to raise family incomes through small family ventures and raising family incomes (Kargwell 2012, p. 49). The objective of this paper is to write a literature review on women entrepreneurship by highlighting general women entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship in the Gulf and then women entrepreneurship in the UAE.

How Different Scholars Define Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship denotes to the idea of establishing and running business undertaking so that one is able to achieve revenue by undertaking various threats in the commercial setting. (Tan et al 2005, p. 354) Entrepreneurship has played a significant part in the financial growth of the escalating international marketplace. (Tan et al 2005, p. 357)An individual willing to work for himself and must be able to embrace flexibility and diversity altogether. Entrepreneurship is the act of establishing businesses while building and scaling it to generate profit. The process of entrepreneurship is able to assist lower the rates of unemployment and assist in reducing poverty. (Audretsch 2003, p. 34)Through entrepreneurship, people are able to take their dreams and career into their hands and leading them to the direction of their choice. When the entrepreneurs are not held back, then they have the capacity to make the world a better place for every individual.

The meaning of entrepreneurship however involves much more than being a job creator or a business. The entrepreneurs are some of the great transformers of the universe and example of such entrepreneurs include the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs that focuses on every part of the household and this confirms that entrepreneurs sees the world differently.

General Women Entrepreneurship

In both developed and underdeveloped economies, the need for entrepreneurship has been identified as the key factor for progress in the economy (Gallant and Pounder 2008, p. 27). As the number of entrepreneurs advance in the economy, the growth rate also advances and this also helps in the economic growth of the country. Entrepreneurship acts as an economic development catalyst in any given country, and it is significant to note that the businesspersons can dictate the economic growth by decisions and actions. Many nations have come to realize that to promote economic growth, it is important to promote entrepreneurship both qualitatively and quantitatively in any given country, and this must include both genders (Gallant and Pounder 2008, p. 28).

Women have possessed and run big business for several decades, but they have not constantly received credit for their labours (Itani et al. 2011, 409). In most instances, women businesspersons were unseen as they worked side by side with their spouses and majority walked into a management position when their spouses passed away (Itani et al. 2011, 410). However, various factors have come together in the recent past to back to the discernibility and the number of women who endeavour into entrepreneurship. As women enter the workforce in a greater numbers, they gain the experience and the skills needed to make critical decisions in both business processes and real life situations (Itani et al. 2011, 412). Flexibility can also be an aspect for many women to start their businesses as most of them view entrepreneurship as a means to juggle the competing demands of family and career. Besides, the difference in the wages that women get when likened to men on typical has been an issue in encouraging some women to resolve to start their enterprises (Itani et al. 2011, 415)

Despite the reason that many industries maintained by women have customarily been in the service subdivision but the contemporary years, women moguls have been stirring hastily into built-up, building, and other industrialized fields (Wally and Koshy 2014, p. 23) Women entrepreneurs face more challenges in obtaining entrance to profit-making credit and request government agreements compared to their masculine counterparts. (Wally and Koshy 2014, p. 27) However, millions of prosperous dealings initiated and administered by females now dot the global scenery, each a evidence to the legality of the ambitions and abilities of the woman businessperson (Kelley et al. 2012, p. 65).

Reasons for Women Entrepreneurs

According to various researchers, many women start businesses for basically diverse motives than their male complements (Metcalfe 2008, p. 23). While men start dealings basically for development occasions and profit impending, women often create a big business to meet individual objectives, such as gaining the feeling of attainment and achievement. In numerous occasions, women reflect monetary success as an exterior validation of their ability instead of a key objective or inspiration to initiate a commercial despite millions of women businesspersons allowing monetary viability is vital in its right (Metcalfe 2008, p. 25).

Females also incline to initiate dealings approximately ten years later than men on ordinary (Erogul and McCrohan, 2008, p.177). The absence of administration expertise, motherhood, and old socialization has all been quoted as motives for postponed admission into commercial professions (Bosma and Levie 2010, p. 23). Many women setup commerce due to some disturbing event such as discrimination, divorce, the health of family members or a reason such as a dismissal. A fresh talent pool of female is starting at present, and many females choose to leave their company jobs to start their industries. The female has industrialized fiscal skill and brings in expertise in non-traditional areas. Therefore, the meditation of female business entrepreneurs in the selling and service segments and traditional businesses such as makeups, food, fashion, and individual care is transforming (Bosma and Levie 2010, p. 25).

Enterprises that are possessed by females are frequently exposed to a specific interesting double standard. The women are deliberated to be more inventive by establishments such as the United Nations, but this is not the case with the local investors as they consider them risky to invest in due to a possible increase in failure. It is important to note that no single research has proved that the businesses that are owned by women are likely to fail compared to the businesses owned by men (Madichie and Gallant 2012, p. 84). Here is a point to prove that women are more innovative than their male colleagues. Women tend to have access to different niches compared to men, and that means they tend to have different roles in the society hence making them have different needs when compared to men. Whatever, the final reason, it is apparent that women capitalists have a treasured and different viewpoint that will upkeep the overall growth of the compact worldwide economy as people continue extra into the 21st century (Zamberi 2011, p. 135).

More importantly, women in the entrepreneurship sector are likely to put a huge percentage of their earnings in the local economy. The sentiment is based on the fact that men will tend to devote their salaries in personal consumables such as cigarettes, alcohol and many others whereas women will spend most of their money on purchasing items for their family members. Therefore, that is a clear indication that economic purchasing power of women helps to support the local economy and that is the reason why women entrepreneurship must be motivated at all cost (Madichie and Gallant 2012, p. 87).

General Problems faced by Women Entrepreneurs

One of the key encounters faced by female industrialists is acquiring finances. In the early years study have established that women business owners did not obtain the same treatment at financial institutes (Forstenlechner 2008, p. 84). Over one half of women corporate proprietors supposed that they faced gender discernment when dealing with a loan officer and only a negligible amount of entrepreneurs are able to acquire loans offered through schemes that are subsidized. Venture capital firm tend to demonstrate favouritism towards men and that is what banks do (Forstenlechner 2008, p. 84). Another range in which women entrepreneurs have been short-changed is procurement or the vending of their goods and services to urban, state and federal administrations. Lack of management skills and training is another challenge that women face may be due to higher propensity to have had business experience previously (Forstenlechner 2008, p. 86). Although this appears to be a minor instead of a major challenge for women entrepreneurs, a few organizations that are specialized in entrepreneurship feel that women are specifically disadvantaged in this respect. Challenges with language can also cause problems for clients or members. Lack of marketing skills is also the most common challenge faced by women entrepreneurs immediately after finance. The notion that this is feature shared with several other micro-enterprises and small firms does not make it less vital to female entrepreneurs (Forstenlechner 2008, p. 89). The feature may be perceived as part of the general requirement to raise the level of management techniques and competencies in the businesses that are owned by the women. Access to technology and intellectual property protection are also among the major problems that women entrepreneurs face (Jamali 2009, p. 234). Computer is a key aspect for any business to be successful and it is unfortunate that most women who start own their businesses lack these skills. These challenges will discourage most women in the society and compel them to accept subordinate status. Therefore they end up lacking the confidence of their own abilities and this extends also at home as family members do not have the faith of women possessing the abilities to make decisions (Jamali 2009, p. 237). It is worth noting that most women that have joined networking proceedings can share to a setting whereby one walks into a packed session and it is possible to count the number of women there instantly. Under such circumstances, women may feel as if they are obligated to adopt male attitude towards business. However, this is not always the case as remaining true to oneself are the key to rising above the expectations that are preconceived (Jalbert 2000, p. 9).

Women tend to have a lesser network, and this is a reason why they do not get funding. Through networking, one can uncover possibilities that may not be apparent hence giving one opportunity to access capital and the skills in management when they need it. When a comparison is done, an individual having 200 contacts will be much less probable to know someone is powerful than a person with over 300 contacts. Women are affected when it comes to building networks since they tend to be very much concerned with their work-life stability. Men will most cases try to spend extra time with their fellow men while women will have a balanced network (Madsen 2010, p. 81).

Many people in the society still have a notion that the profile of a successful entrepreneur is limited to a man. If one tries to think about it, they will understand how true the sentiment is. When giving out the examples of successful entrepreneurs, people will tend to mention the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and the rest. The same image is in the mind of various financial organizations likewise. The establishments have an opinion that men tend to be reliable compared to their female counterparts. Overcoming this requires the society as a whole to change their mindset to embrace and celebrate women in the entrepreneurship industry. As much as the society is ready to appreciate the contribution made by reputable men in the entrepreneurship arena, the society must not forget the women that have conquered the world the world through their business skills (Madsen 2010, p. 85).

Women Entrepreneurs in the Gulf Region

Small and medium-size businesses owned are over $300 billion and are part of the economic change in the region (Hattab 2012, p. 173). The significant role of women entrepreneurship for the growth of the economy is now accepted and inspired the governments coming from this particular region. The trend is due to increased educational chances that are slowly transforming the cultural attitudes and government policies that are aimed at reducing the ability to depend on foreign assistance. The Gulf region has emerged as a model for the empowerment of women due to the support that is offered by the government in enabling an environment where women are offered opportunities to actively contribute to the national development (Hattab 2012, p. 176). The presence of diverse employment chances, information democratization and advances in technology is encouraging most women in this region to initiate their own trades. The women industrialists in the region have increased to 10 percent from 4 percent in a span of three years hence narrowing the gap in the intentions of the entrepreneurs (Kemp et al 2016, p. 998). The move has encouraged regional governments to work together with nongovernmental organizations to identify and come up with programmes to support the intentions of female industrialists in the area. The Middle East governments are approaching the issue of gender equality when it comes to business start-up intentions and this result in greater parity in the following wave of entrepreneurship in the region (Hattab 2012, p. 180).

Importance of Women Entrepreneurship

A fundamental condition to the security of women is to ensure that their helplessness and dependence is reduced and this can only be achieved through creation of women autonomy and independence (Dechant and Lamcky 2005, p. 125). Women entrepreneurship provides women with earnings that are acquired on their own right and this additionally confirms their capability to prosper autonomously hence reducing their insecurity concerning the ability to take care of the society. When women are empowered to create and manage their businesses then there is a possibility that wealth and jobs are created and the collective wellbeing of a woman becomes a reality (Dechant and Lamcky 2005, p. 127). Through promoting entrepreneurship among women makes it easier for the government to redistribute wealth and income when all people in the society who can work including women are empowered to do so. A portion of women that are entrepreneurs have played a critical role in spurring economic development and creating of job opportunities (Dechant and Lamcky 2005, p. 131). Therefore, it is vital that the challenges that are facing women entrepreneurship such as equality among men and women be addressed since they are instrumental in development of a society (Dechant and Lamcky 2005, p. 135).

Initiating start-ups with a female as an executive is likely to succeed due to various reasons. The reason behind this notion is that women will tend to operate businesses where they are the only employee and as they gain experience and knowledge with time, their businesses will naturally grow and will be able to employ more people. When big businesses were cutting down jobs some years ago as a result of global economic crunch, small industries were consistently adding the jobs. Throughout, the world it is known that small businesses are the main economic drivers and supporting them is a reasonable economic approach (Zamberi 2011, p. 137).

Sociocultural Constraints that Stopped Women Entrepreneurs

Within the UAE, women face various social norms that can make it challenging for them to be involved in entrepreneurship activities. The region is strongly influenced by traditions and religion specifically concerning the responsibility of female in the society, and even in the contemporary world, some societies that are conservative make it hard for females to operate their own business (Dean et al. 2017, p. 56). The barbaric cultural norms make it difficult for women entrepreneurs to harness their talents and still meet the obligations placed on them by their families. Some women faced discouragement from their husbands and fathers, and this is a demonstration that generally, women entrepreneurs are more aware to threats of their legitimacy and this makes their keenness to become entrepreneurs to fade away. As a result, this heightened fear of loss of credibility leads many women from the UAE to shun business ventures and pick government positions instead (Dean et al. 2017, p. 58). Through the influence, many households in the United Arabs Emirates preferred their youngsters to have an occupation in the public segment. Public sectors were well recognised for their substantial welfares, flexible operational hours and work administrations that are less demanding. Therefore, families tend to disapprove of their children to pursue the risky careers in the risk-taking sphere over a job in the community sector (Madsen 2010, p. 94).

Motivations for Increase in Woman Entrepreneurs

There is a range of factors that have motivated women to participate in entrepreneurship. The factors have been identified through various studies by different researchers, and most of them inspire women to partake in business (Ahl 2006, p. 596). The main factors that inspire women to take part in commerce are the need to achieve ambition and become independent in the society. Family background and life experiences such as marriage and education can also be the main driver for why women start various ventures. A good percentage of women who have their businesses have parents who run their businesses, and this is an indication that the support from family is also a critical drive for women to be successful entrepreneurs (Ahl 2006, p. 598).

Financial support from the state, national banks, and grants to women entrepreneurs in some of the motivational factors. Women can get over their financial challenges, and this is evident just from the way they set up various enterprises (Ahl 2006, p. 602). There are various federations and associations in the UAE that make valuable efforts in the field of business as their main motive is to support and promote women entrepreneurship through providing market assistance and negotiating with government officials on behalf of women. There is also a range of training programmes that have been started to improve the knowledge of women in business. The training aims to educate women who are backward concerning industrial matters and to offer training facilities and concessions such as mobile training and part-time training facilities (Ahl 2006, p. 606).

The government alongside various non-government organizations have played a significant role in promoting women entrepreneurship. The government has offered training facilities that enable women to participate in decision making as well as having management skills that are critical to running any business. The training has enabled some women to understand the process of production and the process of procurement. The programs have also been extended at local levels by the government to encourage women in remote areas of the country. The main objective of the government has been the development of women entrepreneurs as it has done whatever it can to help most women in UAE to fly with colourful wings through its various projects.

Women Entrepreneurship in UAE

Women are driving business in the United Arabs Emirates, and they intend to keep that way for the consequent years. Women account for almost 50 percent of the SME sector in the UAE, and 46 percent of those women are the owners of their firms (Zeidan and Bahrami 2011, p. 103). With such an elevated rate of women success, the government has created an environment in which various talents could further be fostered o encourage entrepreneurs to have confidence while going after their ideas. UAE is a land of opportunities and women in the country will tend to recall their decision to have an enterprise after noticing a gap in the market (Zeidan and Bahrami 2011, p. 104). Despite the reason that many women entrepreneurs are expatriates cashing in on opportunities, the government and relevant organizations have realized the positive economic impact of encouraging female entrepreneurs. The move has helped address the growing rate of unemployment in the region while bringing in local talent into the workforce of the nation. The United Arabs Emirates government set aside funds to promote enterprise development and is broadly dependent on the thought of promoting women entrepreneurs (Haan 2004, p. 65).

As a result of various funding and initiatives, the UAE women entrepreneurs see a boost in their numbers, and this sentiment can be supported by GEM. According to GEM, the number of women who are established owners of various businesses rose drastically since the year 2006. The strong growth and rise of women enterprises in the UAE can be attributed to the business environment of the country that is favourable. There is more information that is available online, and many individuals in the country are supportive of women initiating their enterprises. The country has numerous platforms that are designed to boost women entrepreneurs including the awards and campaigns conducted by multinational organizations such as Olay Arabia (Haan 2004, p. 67).

However, funding is still a major concern in the country to some extent as most women entrepreneurs use their savings to fund their businesses. Some established women entrepreneurs had to spend and invest in all their savings to grow, and the lucky ones approached the banks to boost them. It was not easy for small enterprises in the past to secure funding but what is significant is that the banks and various financial organizations believed in the businesses of UAE women just like the women themselves did. Finance is the lifeblood of any entrepreneurial venture, but females will tend to make a less appealing selection to traditional investors in the Middle East region (Zeidan and Bahrami 2011, p. 106). The women in the regions will tend to face gender barriers such as limited experience when it comes to approaching the financial institutions, limited financial knowledge and poor management skills in the course of investment. Women will also tend to face informal type of barriers depending on the businesses that they establish (Zeidan and Bahrami 2011, p. 107). Most women will tend to concentrate on lifestyle businesses while the growing number of incubators and accelerators focuses on technology. Investors and venture capitalists are less interested in such businesses because their main focus is on multiple high returns and an exit strategy that is clear. Therefore, the investors will be reluctant when it comes to funding the lifestyle businesses (Haan 2004, p. 69).

Women enterprises need capital that is smart in the sense that the funding must come from angel investors which in this case is wealthy private individuals and networks that have the desire to invest in knowledge and capital for women. Women that are initiating businesses need financial platforms that are in line with their needs and supported by investors who are willing to offer knowledge, coaching, and support of the female entrepreneurs (Haan 2004, p. 71).

However, what is important is that there are various funding avenues in the UAE that assists the women entrepreneurs and reduce the possible financial worries to some extent. Various companies make it possible and easy to launch a business and are assisting individuals specifically women to achieve their potential by raising awareness of their businesses and raising funds through crowdfunding. The women entrepreneurs also point out the need for training and mentoring other young women to establish their businesses. A financial initiative such as the Khalifa funding has helped in reducing the funding setback that UAE women could have faced in the market. The role of the project in offering training to the future entrepreneurs makes it a successful project altogether (Madsen 2010, p. 78).

Various organizations in the country aim to put up an association for entrepreneurs so that there could be a platform where experience is shared, and the exchange of beneficial ideas is taking place. Through the establishments such as the Khalifa funding, women entrepreneurs are capable of having their ideas strengthened and become innovative as they overcome the obstacles. With the gulf nations looking forward to diversifying their economies and improving the local employment rates, women entrepreneurs are now capable of playing a critical role. According to reports from industries around the UAE, eradicating all the explicit barriers that obstruct the growth of female entrepreneurs in the region requires the government to track its effective transition to an appropriate economy (Madsen 2010, p. 79).


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January 19, 2024




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