Developing Entrepreneurship Policy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Algarny, Saeed Saad
Date: 1 March 2016
University of Exeter
PhD in Management Studies
Entrepreneurship policy (EP) evolved out of an existing framework of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) policy development. Whilst there is clarity about the need for EP, there is less clarity about how it works, and what is effective, in different historical, cultural, economic, and institutional contexts. This knowledge gap is ascribed ...
Entrepreneurship policy (EP) evolved out of an existing framework of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) policy development. Whilst there is clarity about the need for EP, there is less clarity about how it works, and what is effective, in different historical, cultural, economic, and institutional contexts. This knowledge gap is ascribed to the variation between countries’ contexts and government rationales for supporting entrepreneurship. Therefore, this research contributes to the body of knowledge of EP by considering the unique context of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and seeks to achieve four things. Firstly, it will describe the historical, cultural, economic and institutional context of Saudi Arabia. Secondly, it will map out the entrepreneurship landscape and environment. Thirdly, it will investigate the precise nature of the EP framework and the types of government support available to entrepreneurs. Finally, it will assess and evaluate whether the type of support available maps into the types of barriers that entrepreneurs face when seeking to (a) start a new business, and, (b) manage the transition from start-up to growth. In literature, EP could be limited to innovative entrepreneurship; it could cover SME Policy; or it could be confused with policies to build an entrepreneurial economy. However, this comprehensive research adopts the Lundstrom and Stevenson (2005) definition and framework of EP, which consists of six pillars: promotion, education, finance, regulations, support services and target group strategy. A mixed methods approach was used to collect the data in three phases: qualitative (semi-structured interviews), quantitative (a questionnaire) and documentary data (websites and reports). The interviews targeted policymakers (N=4), entrepreneurs (N=26) and representatives from entrepreneurship support centres (N=18). Further, the questionnaire targeted both business owners and individuals without businesses (N=921). The investigation revealed that the Saudi context provides a set of entrepreneurial initiatives that were compatible with the six pillars of the framework. However, some of the policy measures were not applicable to the Saudi context, which shows that it is inappropriate always to replicate ‘good practice’ in other countries. Further, the research provides other recommendations based on the Saudi context as emerging results. Moreover, the analysis showed a number of gaps that need to be filled. Accordingly, the research recommended a set of policy measures for each of the six areas of the framework, based on the framework policy measures, literature and the Saudi context. The importance of this empirical research increased after the Saudi government founded the SME Authority in October, 2015, which covers entrepreneurship matters as well.
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