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Research reveals universities can help stimulate entrepreneurship in Middle East

Joint research involving 135 students was conducted by two UAE universities and an American University

A recent research project conducted by professors from UAE and US has revealed that universities could help stimulate entrepreneurship in the Middle East by providing students with training and support in the field.

The project aimed to determine if having an entrepreneurial attitude fuelled the intentions of undergraduate students in Dubai to become entrepreneurs, and whether universities and role models have a part to play in evolving an entrepreneurial spirit.

The research was conducted by Assistant Professor, Ms. Jeanette Teh, from the School of Business Administration, Canadian University Dubai; Dr. Hassan Al-Dhaafri, Assistant Professor in the College of Business Administration, American University in the Emirates; and Dr. Adrienne A. Isakovic, Lead Faculty in the School of Management, Walden University, USA.

Based on a survey of 135 students, the research found that, “Entrepreneurial attitude is positively and significantly related to entrepreneurial intentions. Further, having a university playing a greater role in providing entrepreneurship training and assistance would also increase students’ intentions to become entrepreneurs.”

However, the research also concluded that, contrary to expectations, having a family member as an entrepreneur did not increase the respondents’ intentions to be an entrepreneur themselves. These findings, says Ms. Teh, hold some important messages for educators and policy makers in the region.

Ms. Teh commented that “Role models did not have a significant impact on entrepreneurial intentions was surprising, but perhaps helpful for policy makers interested in increasing the rate of entrepreneurship, since we have very little ability to change family or personal circumstances.”

“Nevertheless, there is much that governments and institutions can do to foster more entrepreneurial intentions and by extension, more entrepreneurial activity. Greater attention can be paid to identifying potential entrepreneurs early during their education and providing specialized training to encourage and develop their entrepreneurial skills,” he added.