The Experience of Female Entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates
Date: 25 November 2019
University of Exeter
Doctor of Philosophy
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has significantly increased its support for entrepreneurs. It has been eager to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirits and ambitions among local Emiratis. This has resulted in various government-led campaigns trying to assist and encourage citizens to start up their own businesses. Despite this, ...
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has significantly increased its support for entrepreneurs. It has been eager to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirits and ambitions among local Emiratis. This has resulted in various government-led campaigns trying to assist and encourage citizens to start up their own businesses. Despite this, the female entrepreneurship in UAE is understudied, which creates the opportunity for research in this area. The aim of the research is to: understand the experiences of female entrepreneurs in UAE and suggest policies to remove the impediments which face them. The research has seven objectives: (1) to analyse the female entrepreneurship sector in UAE; (2) to analyse the most effective motivations for the Emirati female entrepreneurs; (3) to analyse the main constraints facing the Emirati female entrepreneurs; (4) to evaluate how easy is it for female entrepreneurs to access finance to start up or grow their own businesses; (5) to evaluate the degree of effectiveness of the business network institutions which aim to support Emirati female entrepreneurs; (6) to analyse the performance of Emirati female entrepreneurs’ businesses; (7) to suggest policies to improve female entrepreneurship in UAE. The achievement of research questions has been carried out using a mixed-method research methodology. A survey strategy has been conducted through a questionnaire technique, with the questionnaire being distributed to female and male entrepreneurs. Further, semi-structured interviews have been carried out with selected Emirati women entrepreneurs, staff from relevant supportive institutions and bankers. The main finding of the research is that female Emirati entrepreneurs have some characteristics that differentiate them from their male counterparts. They are risk avoiders; less able than males in presenting their ideas to financial institutions; have more commitment; like to have a balance between their business and social responsibilities; like to control their business themselves; and they have a lack of planning and other management skills. The profile of female Emirati entrepreneurs in UAE is different from their male counterparts from many perspectives. They start up at a younger age and are single; the majority of them start their businesses without prior experience and with less capital than males; and they prefer to start their businesses in areas that align with females’ nature. About half of female Emiratis use self-finance or paternal support in their start-up or for growth. Overall, female Emirati entrepreneurs face less financial challenges in comparison to their male counterparts. Motherhood motivates some females to start their businesses so as to have flexibility in their personal and family life. Families support female Emirati entrepreneurs financially and morally as well. On the other hand, motherhood becomes more of a restriction when females don’t receive support from their families. Because of this, a work-life balance and dependency are challenges facing them. The Emirati business environment motivated female entrepreneurs in UAE to start their businesses. Although there are a number of institutions which support entrepreneurs in UAE, the majority of UAE entrepreneurs are not members of any of these institutions. This may mainly result from less awareness of the role and activities of these institutions. Entrepreneurs think that they have no time or they don’t think that the business networks will support them. This simply shows a poor awareness about these institutions. Keywords: Female entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurship in UAE; business environment; 5M Model.
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