Recent News



Review:  Enhancing Access: Assessing the Funding Landscape for MENA’s startup 1/15/15

Report written by Wamda Research Lab* and Endeavor Insight**

This new report launched in October 2014 focuses specifically on funding in MENA countries. According to the report, it is the largest collection of information on funded startups in the MENA region. Through its analysis, it shares indicators and insights and how to enhance funding in the MENA countries.

Report Highlights


  • It includes 9 MENA countries :Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.
  • Which covers about 50% of all MENA countries (the total number of MENA countries ranges from 19 to 23 countries (World Bank)


  • 254 entrepreneurs were selected out of a total of 768 MENA entrepreneurs that were surveyed by Wamda in 2013. The 254 entrepreneurs were chosen because they had received equity investment.
  • Wamda also surveyed 169 institutions in the region and selected 65 institutions to include in this report because they provide equity or debt funding


  • Funding is still very limited in the MENA region yet funding has increased: there are three times as many companies receiving investments in 2012 than in 2009

The characteristics of those that received funding

  • 78% founders were male versus 22% female founders
  • 87% at least one male founder while only 38% had at least one female founder
  • The funded businesses tended to be young: 2.6 years on average

There is a positive trend in increasing programs (2008 – 2013) for business development and financing in the MENA countries which now includes:

  • Angel networks
  • Early stage and VC capital
  • Loan guarantee programs
  • Accelerators
  • Crowdfunders

*The 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.

** Endeavor Insight is Endeavor’s research arm, 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 Research Network (GERN).

Reviewer Additional Comments: The limitations of the Data

  • The report does not provide a breakdown of the founders surveyed and country of origin;
  • Out of a 220 survey sample – which would be 24 respondents per country, but the different samples sizes for individual countries is not given. we do not know what the sample size for each country.
  • Additional gendered details would have been useful including 1) country differences; 2) amount of equity obtained; 3) sector of operation.


Reviewed by Ruta Aidis, CEO and Founder, ACG Inc.


International Study on Successful Entrepreneur Behaviors 11/5/14

BNP Paribas Wealth Management issued the first edition of its new 2015 Global Entrepreneurialism Report which examines the behaviors of successful entrepreneurs. This report is based on over 2,500 High-Net Worth and Ultra High-Net Worth individuals declaring a minimum current net worth of USD 2 million and an average of USD 7.6 million, spanning 17 countries across four regions – Europe, Asia, the United States and the Middle East – replied to a 15 minute online survey conducted by Scorpio Partnership.

One of the findings of this study is that there are fewer female entrepreneurs – their assessment is that women lack the confidence to start businesses.

Women Entrepreneurship Research Forum’s comment: The results are interesting and thought provoking. Confidence is a factor that holds women back but so are external impediments that are not taken into account in this survey. For example the gendered legal restrictions in a number of the countries surveyed is not mentioned or even taken into consideration nor are the percentages of female entrepreneur respondents (37% female to 63% male) broken down in terms of country of origin. A disproportionate percentage of these female respondents could be from one country or region.


APEC Breaks Down Barriers to Women’s Economic Participation  11/5/14

The United States has worked with the other member APEC economies to establish the Women and the Economy Dashboard, a framework built on 26 contributing factors, to track and measure APEC’s progress in improving women’s economic participation. The framework will help policy makers in APEC to prioritize collective efforts on policy and capacity building as well as inform each economy’s domestic goals. Measurements will include key indicators across the five core areas of: 1) access to capital, including financial inclusion; 2) access to trade and labor markets; 3) skills, capacity building and health, including policies related to domestic violence and discrimination against women; 4) leadership, including national identification; and 5) innovation and technology, including access to cell phones and the internet as well as (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.

Furthermore, responding to this call, the United States with support from Australia has launched the development of a Women’s Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC) Network.  WE-APEC, a cross-cutting regional network, will aim to identify and connect women’s entrepreneurship networks in each economy with public and private sector support services and global supply chains to ultimately expand economic opportunities and regional trade.