As a researcher and being involved in the field of business for some time, don’t get me wrong if I say that women in the Middle East still have an extra 30 years to prove that they finally can keep up with the modern world’s life and business. I have met many women my age or older, and if it looks like they can do it on their own, they would go out and pick a particular type of business micro or small sized one, build on their own connections and available capital. Sometimes they do move on bigger, or mostly they lag behind common big business brands (local or international) or long family history that usually decides for them which way to go.
Middle East Countries & Women’s Entrepreneurship Challenges
If you look around some of the poor rural areas among one of the Middle East countries like Egypt; you will find the women entrepreneur concept is there, but these women lack the financial awareness needed on how to seek a loan and how to commit to it. While other women get in prison at the end of the day if they don’t know how to pay back their loans, others struggle to find a sustainable source of funding for their businesses. In some cases, women already start their own small businesses with some support from the family. However, sometimes they struggle to find competent, and qualified working team to join the new startup. One of the reasons being is their business too small to make massive profits or go beyond their local reach. It will probably take these young women longer time than expected before they can afford their electricity bills. Still, you can find some good examples of women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia and UAE; who make massive profits and can go beyond their local sales’ scale according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring report and their businesses seem to be stably growing for some time. However, I ask myself this question, how far can these prosperous women entrepreneur benefit back their women local community?
Outside the Middle East Region, Women are Thriving
Women across Latin America and Asia; speak of the current educational and professional status for both of the areas. Both of them have women who enjoy the better economic conditions for their country’s rising economies, with even a lesser gender gap. However, most of the women, entrepreneurs do not make much in profits or business’s size either, and better calling them women startups. Although these growing economies give better business opportunities, they don’t represent all the major rising economies like Brazil or Venezuela in regards to women entrepreneur’s growth rates, which means that women entrepreneurs in these two countries are not better off than women in other countries. Furthermore, only North America has the least gender gap and more job creation needs. This, of course, has led over time to a more opened market for women entrepreneurs and fewer risks due to the higher level of education and business awareness.
A Glimpse of Hope
If you want to get even bigger in perspective; startups’ rates speak of some economic activities, which on the other side of the world have some current growing businesses in North America and Europe that thrive in high tech startups for both men and women. As well, some of them reached the one billion statuses according to my experience with www.UnicornsUnited.net.While the number of women entrepreneurs is still higher than men in Latin America and Asia; this may with no problem reflect upon the rising educational and business opportunities to women. These women want to prove themselves and make a living for their families. It’s good to note that most of the women in the Middle East or Sub-Saharan African countries still struggle to go outside their basic job of staying home, feeding the kids, and taking permission from husbands for their local movements. While if they try even harder, most of them go towards social entrepreneurship when they can devote their efforts to the public, or build on their little experience in market’s investments.
Entrepreneurship in general and women entrepreneurship more represents explicitly the current cultural, economic and social norms of each country we look at. Therefore, the more these countries advance in the business, financial or the legal awareness needed, the more we’ll see more women entrepreneurs coming out confidently worldwide; especially in areas like the Middle East or Sub Saharan African countries. Therefore, you can’t even expect much if you try, economies of many countries in the Middle East or Sub-Saharan Africa still lie behind most of the world’s economies, and there are many other obstacles related to lifestyle, type of markets and consumerism of the major public. So if big businesses are struggling already, micro or small ones will suffer even more. Left to mention that the more global efforts are directed towards capacity building for the local community with much business and legal awareness, the more these women left behind will be able to feed their kids, educate them more and feel a sense of content nothing more or less.