There is little research into the Middle East entrepreneurship ecosystem but what does exist can be very insightful and interesting. Our partner Wamda is the preeminent source of research and literature into the MENA entrepreneurship ecosystem and regularly releases new research.
Their most recent publication – Country Insights: Exploring Trends and Challenges to Scale for Startups in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE – is an excellent read and we highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this space. Based on a survey with close to 500 responses from entrepreneurs, it examines what issues and challenges entrepreneurs have while they try to scale their business.
There were a lot of interesting insights and data points but of particular interest to the WOMENA team were:
- 28% of UAE startup founders are women, which was the best of the four countries studied
- Only 11% of Lebanese startups and 23% of UAE startups have VC backing
- Over 30% of Jordan and Egypt startups have received angel investment
- 35% of companies with a mentor have received angel investment compared to 13% who have not, with this difference particularly pronounced in the UAE and Jordan
This was just the tip of the iceberg for the data but we’d love to hear your thoughts. Why do you think Lebanese startups have less VC funding? How important do you think having a mentor is? Either comment here or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.
The publication shows rapid developments happening across the region. While there were one or two developments a year in the four countries prior to 2012, the number of developments has exploded in the past two to three years. This can only be a good omen for entrepreneurship in the region. With 2016 fast approaching, we already can’t wait to see what happens next year!
PS. Thanks Wamda for adding WOMENA as a funding source!