Exploring Young Female Entrepreneurial Activity in the United Arab Emirates: Issues, Prospects, and Implications for the Region


female entrepreneur
United Arab Emirates

How to Cite

Sidani, Y. (1). Exploring Young Female Entrepreneurial Activity in the United Arab Emirates: Issues, Prospects, and Implications for the Region. Al-Raida Journal, 17-25. https://doi.org/10.32380/alrj.v0i0.67


This study attempts to sketch a profile of young female entrepreneurs in the Arab region as they start their business organisations and take the first few steps in the development of their business. It attempts to draw a profile of a number of local Emirati women entrepreneurs and their characteristics, what attracts them to their businesses, and the hurdles they face as they enter into their line of business. In addition, it outlines the makeup of their entrepreneurial businesses, and identifies some barriers that women face at the start-up stage, in addition to their entrepreneurial motivations and driving forces, satisfactions, and frustrations. This is preceded by a brief overview of models of female entrepreneurship and an exploration of previous research into female entrepreneurship and women status in the Arab region. To accomplish this, we conducted thirteen interviews with young female entrepreneurs to assess the special challenges facing them as they go about starting and running their business ventures. We tried to gauge the interviewees’ entrepreneurial activities, their satisfaction with their business ventures, and the perceived opportunities and obstacles that they face. While this study explores the specific case of the UAE, the wider implications on young female Arab entrepreneurs are discussed.



Arabic Knowledge@Wharton. (2010, May 4). How women entrepreneurs are driving business in the Middle East. Retrieved December 26, 2007, from http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/arabic/


Baum, J., & Bird, B. (2010). The successful intelligence of high-growth entrepreneurs: Links to new venture growth. Organization Science, 21(2), 397-412,587.

Bell-Rose, S. & Payzant, T.W. (2008). Youth entrepreneurship education in America: A policymaker’s action guide (Foreword). Presented by the Aspen Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group. The Aspen Institute.

Brush, C. G. (1999). Research on women business owners: Past trends, a new perspective and future directions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 16(4), 5-30.

Buttner, H. & Moore, D. (1997). Women’s organizational exodus to entrepreneurship: Self-reported motivations and correlates with success. Journal of Small Business Management 35(1), 34-47.

Cabral-Cardoso, C.J. (2004). Women in management in Portugal. In J.M. Davidson & J.R. Burke (Eds.), Women in management worldwide: Facts figures and analysis (pp. 83-98). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Chamlou, N. (2007, January). Women as engines of economic growth in the Arab world: Moving forward. Report of the roundtable meeting at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London, United Kingdom.

Cooke, F. L. (2004). Women in management in China. In M. Davidson & J.R. Burke (Eds.), Women in management worldwide: Facts figures and analysis (pp. 243-258). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Davidson, M.J., & Burke, R.J. (Ed.). (2004). Women in management worldwide. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Dunlop, I. (2006). Business and youth in the Arab World: A sourcebook of business partnerships in youth employment and enterprise development. International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF).

Economic intelligence Unit (EIU). (2007). Country Profile 2007: United Arab Emirates. London, UK: EIU.

Fielden, S.L. & Davidson, M.J. (2005). International handbook of women and small business entrepreneurship. Cheltenham: Elgar.

Glass, A. (2007). Working women contribute US$3.4bn to the UAE’s Economy. Retrieved December 26, 2007, from http://www.arabianbusiness.com/working-women-contribute-us-3-4bn-the-uae-seconomy-157854.html

Haddad, N. (1993). Entrepreneurship in small industries in the Arab countries. Proceedings of the Expert Group Meeting on Creation of Indigenous Entrepreneurship and opportunities for Small and Medium-Scale Industrial Investment. Damascus: ESCWA.

Hadidian, T. V. (2004). Entrepreneurship, internationalization and export marketing: The case of Lebanon. An unpublished MBA project at the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut.

Hisrich, R.D. & Brush, C.G. (1986). The woman entrepreneur. Lexington: Lexington Books.

Hofstede, G. (1984). Cultural consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (1997). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. Cambridge, England: McGraw-Hill.

Hoxha, D. & Krasniqi, B. (2008). Female entrepreneurship in Kosova: Does gender difference hypothesis hold? International Journal of Business and Management Research, 1(1), 23-40.

Izyumov, A., & Razumnova, I. (2000). Women entrepreneurs in Russia: Learning to survive the market. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 5(1), 1-19.

Kabasakal, H., Aycan, Z., & Karakas, F. (2004). Women in management in Turkey. In J.M. Davidson & J.R. Burke (Eds.), Women in management worldwide: Facts figures and analysis (pp. 273-293). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Machado, H.P.V., Gimenez, F.A.P., Gomes, V., Aligleri, L.M., Pelisson, C., & Aligerli, L.A. (2002). Female and male entrepreneurs’ managerial behaviour: A Brazilian study. Management International, 7(1), 21-32.

McGee, J., Peterson, M., Mueller, S., & Sequeira, J. (2009). Entrepreneurial self-efficacy: Refining the measure. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 33(4), 965-988.

Moy, J. W. H., Luk, W. M., & Wright, P. C. (2003). Perceptions of entrepreneurship as a career: Views of young people in Hong Kong. Equal Opportunities International 22(4), 16-40.

Maysami, R.C., & Goby, V.P. (1999). Female business owners In Singapore and elsewhere: A review of studies. Journal of Small Business Management, 37(2), 96-105.

MOP. (1997). Statistical Yearbook (1997). Abu Dhabi: Ministry of Planning.

Mueller, S.L. & Dato-On, M. (2008). Gender-role orientation as a determinant of entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 13(1), 3-20.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (1998). OECD Employment Outlook. Paris, France: OECD.

Omar, A., & Davidson, M. J. (2004). Women in management in Malaysia. In J.M. Davidson & J.R. Burke (Eds.), Women in management worldwide: Facts figures and analysis (pp. 259-272). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Orhan, M. (2001). Women business owners in France: The issue of financing discrimination. Journal of Small Business Management, 39(1), 95-102.

Pardo-del-Val, M., & Ribeiro-Soriano, D. (2007). Political support for women entrepreneurs: The equal community initiative in Spain and Portugal. Equal Opportunities International, 26(8), 761-777.

Petraki Kotis, A. & Ventoura Neokosmidi, Z. (2004). Women in management in Greece. In J.M. Davidson & J.R. Burke (Eds.), Women in management worldwide: Facts figures and analysis (19-31). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Sandberg, K.W. (2003). An exploratory study of women in micro enterprises: Gender-related differences. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 10(4), 408-417.

Sarri, K. & Trihopoulou, A. (2005). Female entrepreneurs’ personal characteristics and motivation: A review of the Greek situation. Women in Management Review, 20(1/2), 24-36.

Sayed, S. (2001, May). Women and governance in the UAE. Paper presented at the UNESCO conference on Women and Sustainable Development in the Arab World, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Scherer, R.F., Brodzinski, J.D., & Wiebe, F.A. (1990). Entrepreneur career selection and gender: A socialization approach. Journal of Small Business Management, 28(2), 37.

Scott, C.E. (1986). Why more women are becoming entrepreneurs. Journal of Small Business Management, 24(4), 37-44.

Sidani, Y. (2005). Women, work, and Islam in Arab societies. Women in Management Review, 20(7/8), 498-512.

Sidani, Y., Itani, H., & Baalbaki, I. (2007). United Arab Emirates female entrepreneurs: Motivations and frustrations. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Academy of Management Conference.

Sidani, Y. & Thornberry, J. (2009). The current Arab work ethic: Antecedents, implications, and potential remedies. Journal of Business Ethics (Forthcoming).

Sigh, S.P., Reynolds, R.G. & Muhammad, S. (2001). A gender-based performance analysis of micro and small enterprises in Java, Indonesia. Journal of Small Business Management, 39(2), 174-182.

Stevenson, L. (1986). Against all odds: The entrepreneurship of women. Journal of Small Business Management, 24(4), 30-36.

Watson, J. (2003). Failure rates for female-controlled businesses: Are they any different? Journal of Small Business Management, 41(3), 262-277.

Welter, F. (2004). The environment for female entrepreneurship in Germany. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 11(2), 212-221.

The Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR) and The International Finance Corporation (IFC). (2007). Women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa: Characteristics, contributions and challenges. USA & Tunisia: CAWTAR & IFC.

Wilson, F.M. (2004). Women in management in the United Kingdom. In J.M. Davidson & J.R. Burke (Eds.), Women in management worldwide: Facts figures and analysis (pp. 99-111). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Woldie, A., & Adersua, A. (2004). Female entrepreneurs in a transitional economy: Businesswomen in Nigeria. International Journal of Social Economics, 31(1/2), 78-93.


Download data is not yet available.