Analyzing the role of networks in Middle East and North African enterprises

November 18, 2013
Yousef Daoud
In 2013, a group of researchers analyzed surveys of entrepreneurship in North Africa and the Middle East. The surveys and analysis of various aspects of networking and the role it played in entrepreneurs’ success were supported by IDRC.
Among their findings was that the region’s entrepreneurs depend mainly on close connections, such as family and friends for advice and resources, particularly when starting a business. This led the researchers to recommend that local governments should provide entrepreneurial spaces where information and advice is provided by professionals, at no charge. Entrepreneurs should also be made aware of the benefits of networking, particularly women entrepreneurs who engage with others less often.
The researchers also found that innovation in the region’s enterprises was low, due mainly to limited networking and exposure to new ideas and funding sources. Similarly, the limited international networking affected export activity, suggesting that policymakers should encourage international linkages.
The studies have been published in the International Journal of Business and Globalization, vol. 11, issue 4, a “Special Issue on Networks Around Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa: Composition, Causes and Consequences.”​