While entrepreneurship is not supposed to be easy, the culture of where a startup ecosystem is located has a huge impact on how easy or difficult it is for a startup to survive. In the Arab world, the...View More
While entrepreneurship is not supposed to be easy, the culture of where a startup ecosystem is located has a huge impact on how easy or difficult it is for a startup to survive. In the Arab world, there are several other factors that affect the entrepreneurship of Arab youth, which often have nothing to do with a lack of venture capitalists, human capital, or infrastructure. Indeed, many of the obstacles young Arab entrepreneurs face when trying to start their own businesses are cultural, stemming from their family nucleus or the surrounding community. Entrepreneurship is about altering social, economic, and cultural norms, so naturally many young Arabs face resistance from their communities because they are altering all kinds of feathers. In communities that thrive on collective values and family cohesion, working "outside the lines" is not just a business risk; it is social. So how can Arab entrepreneurs stay motivated while pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams?
1. Share ideas with people you know will support you
When you have an "aha!" Right now as an entrepreneur, it's very easy to get overzealous and start telling every single person you meet about your new idea. While it's tempting to share your startup idea with everyone under the sun, doing it at the idea stage and in an Arabic context can be dangerous. Many Arab communities do not like the unconventional lifestyle and uncertainty that being an entrepreneur brings, which is why they often discourage young Arabs from going the startup route. This general lack of community support makes it necessary for Arab entrepreneurs to establish diverse support networks from which to draw strength and motivation, which will ultimately help them survive in the new developing ecosystem of the region. While finding and enlisting the support of mentors and other startups is not always easy, young entrepreneurs should try to reach out to groups, associations, or individuals so that they can find formal and informal support groups. By connecting with other startups, young entrepreneurs can collectively gain insights, advice, and resources, so they can stay motivated on their entrepreneurial journey and learn how other startup founders navigate the turbulent seas of social disapproval.
2. Trust your research and instinct
Unfortunately, in most of the Arab world, research and statistics related to business and entrepreneurship conducted by national institutions or government entities are often difficult to find. However, even when such information is available, it is not always easy to corroborate it with the reality on the ground, so it is not reliable. On the other hand, the information that is most available to startups generally comes from international organizations, which do not always fully understand the social and economic dynamics of the Arab country in question. This situation, therefore, ends up forcing many young Arab entrepreneurs to carry out their own primary research. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is not always easy to find, access or calculate the numbers necessary to justify a new startup idea and subsequently this makes it much more difficult for young entrepreneurs to present their ideas to investors and venture capitalists who are already skeptical of their capabilities.
After conducting their research and gathering the necessary data, Arab entrepreneurs should trust their instincts and take the proverbial leap. When it comes to marketing an innovative service or product, even if young Arab entrepreneurs do not have exact figures, they must demonstrate one of the following things. They should be able to show how their target audience is similar to the population of another country, where a similar product or idea has been successful. Alternatively, they have to show how they can create a need for your product or service, or how they can exploit a current gap in the market. Lastly, they should be able to use demographic or economic statistics to demonstrate how their product naturally fits their target market. At the end of the day, no matter what information a young Arab entrepreneur has, if they can use it creatively and trust their instincts, they will have a much better chance of withstanding the criticism they receive from their communities and potential investors.
3. Understand that redefining the rules is not easy
When people refer to the Arab world, they sometimes forget how different social, economic, and cultural norms are in North Africa, the Levant, the Gulf, and parts of the Horn of Africa. If young Arab entrepreneurs can overcome the socio-economic obstacles that challenge business innovation in their ecosystems, they must also be willing to accept and understand that challenging cultural norms and values is not easy, especially when introducing "foreigners". values. Young Arab entrepreneurs must understand that just coming up with a new idea is not enough and that they must be willing to create a culture around their products that promotes their values and at the same time promotes business sustainability.
Young entrepreneurs must accept that they will hear one of two things when they come up with a new startup idea. Either they will hear that there is no market for their idea, or that people will not buy it, but if young entrepreneurs want to survive in the startup world, they have to learn to overcome the negativity thrown at them. That said, young Arab entrepreneurs must also discern the difference between constructive criticism and empty criticism. more on https://www.wowessays.com/write-my-book-report/. Like empty calories, empty criticism adds no value and is damaging and demoralizing to the health and momentum of a startup.
Unfortunately, many Arab communities, especially older generations, offer young aspirants a lot of unsolicited and demoralizing "advice", which means that many young people stop dreaming before they even have a chance to start. So if young Arab entrepreneurs want to be successful in the startup world, they must persevere and master the art of filtering out constructive criticism, while also learning how to respectfully accept disagreement.