Cairo, Egypt, September 1, 2015—
A new IFC-supported report by Wamda Research Lab finds that although support
for entrepreneurs and start-ups has grown substantially across the Middle
East and North Africa, many challenges remain, hindering job creation and
Conditions for Entrepreneurs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and UAE
Wamda surveyed nearly 500 entrepreneurs from the four countries, which
have seen the majority of entrepreneurship development initiatives in the
region. Published in partnership with Endeavor Insight and Beirut Digital
District, the report looks at the main trends in entrepreneurship and the
challenges entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses.
Jamil Wyne, Head of Wamda Research Lab said: “Our research suggests that
more and more players are realizing the economic and social returns that
supporting entrepreneurship can have on cities, countries, and the region.
Addressing the challenges entrepreneurs face is critical to achieving economic
and social development. We hope our work will help investors and policymakers
better understand the challenges so they can continue to help the sector
Access to finance is one of the main challenges cited by entrepreneurs
in the report, with 43 percent relying on funding from family and friends,
and nearly all relying on personal savings to at least partially fund their
companies. The report identifies three other main challenges: generating
revenues, finding the right talent, and expanding across borders efficiently.
Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa
said: “Fostering a favorable business environment for small businesses
and entrepreneurs is one of IFC’s strategic priorities in the region,
since they not only drive growth but help bring in innovation, contribute
to job creation and increase regional competitiveness.”
The Wamda report also reveals that new funds and investments in entrepreneurial
ventures have increased significantly. Over 80 percent of new institutions
that support entrepreneurs, created since 2010, have been launched by local
MENA stakeholders, with over 60 percent of these created in Jordan, Egypt,
Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.
The initiative is part of IFC's wider strategy in the region that aims
to support small businesses, encourage entrepreneurship, expand access
to finance, and create jobs. In February 2015, IFC invested $10 million
in a venture fund created by Wamda Capital, a sister company, to provide
funding to tech entrepreneurs in MENA. Such support is considered vital
in a region where smaller businesses often struggle to tap into expertise
and secure the financing they need to grow.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working
with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise,
and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15,
our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion,
helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort
to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,
About Wamda Research Lab
Wamda Research Lab is Wamda’s research program that produces studies on
entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and seeks to
foster thought leadership in this field. Its agenda is to inform investors,
policymakers, and other stakeholders on barriers to and solutions for developing
entrepreneurship in MENA.
About Endeavor Insight
Endeavor Insight is Endeavor’s research arm and studies high-impact entrepreneurs
and their contribution to job creation and economic growth. Along with
the Kauffman Foundation and the
World Bank, Endeavor Insight is a founding member of the Global Entrepreneurship
Network (GERN). Its research educates policy makers and practitioners and
helps them to accelerate entrepreneurs’ success and the development of
entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world.
About Beirut Digital District (BDD)
BDD is a hub for the digital and creative industries in Lebanon.
BDD provides a state of the art business environment, value-added services
and infrastructure so that companies can increase their productivity and
grow. BDD also offers a healthy living environment where this young and
dynamic workforce can work and live with their families.