When it comes to MENA region women are largely unemployed. Latest statistics suggest that nearly 1 out of every 5 women is unemployed. The unemployment rate in North Africa for young women is the worst; it stands at a harrowing 41% — the highest for any other region in the world, according to the International Labour Office (ILO).
If this region wants to absorb both already unemployed workers and new entrants, they would need to create around 100 million jobs by 2020 which is the mammoth task by any standard for any government. The best case scenario here would be to motivate and support entrepreneurs and that is what Kuwait is focussing on. It is trying to create an amicable environment for its population especially the females to come up as successful entrepreneurs.
It is establishing a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem to facilitate entrepreneurial activity. A healthy entrepreneurial environment helps to convert more nascent women entrepreneurs into successful ones, but let us see what initially drives these women towards entrepreneurship.
- Financial Support: This is especially required as the financial assistance from the government at attractive rates is a big boost for the aspiring female entrepreneurs. Any start-up needs capital and it takes time before it reaches a break-even point. Till then if government facilitates loans which are easy to get and low on interest it helps a lot. A few concessions from the government to start-ups will be another motivating factor for the aspiring young entrepreneurs.
- Cultural and Societal Factors: They play an important role in both, encouraging or dissuading business ownership for women. The relationship that women have with their spouse or father is important in the development of women entrepreneurs. If the family members are supportive and encourages them to gain knowledge, skills and experience and supports them in their initial years of the struggle then these women can do wonders. If the society is open to women travelling and there is religious acceptance of women working and interacting with male counterparts as it is evident in Kuwait then it is encouraging for women to start their own business.
- Child-care Services: For those women who are in the age group of 25-35 years child care services are really important. If they want to focus on their business they need to be sure that their children are in safe hands. Tending to the needs of the children and concentrating on the nitty gritty of the business cannot be done simultaneously. They sure need a helping hand in domestic matters, especially for their children.
- Legal Infrastructure: The legal infrastructure of the country is working towards providing equal rights to education, networks, and the stability of the legal environment to protect businesses. This is an instrumental step in promoting entrepreneurship. They are creating an “Entrepreneurial Eco-System”. It simply translates that the government is trying to make the access to resources and institutions required for the development of female-owned businesses approachable. It includes everything right from the availability of skilled workforce, ease of doing business and bridging the gap that exists between men and women workforce.
- The Sense of Achievement: A research suggests that most of the women do not start a business because they are in need of money but because they have identified an opportunity where their innovation can solve a problem. This is a drastic change between the mentality of men and women entrepreneurs. Where men have the basic goal of having an income source women want to deploy their innovation and gain satisfaction in seeing it successful. Gaining a sense of achievement and overcoming a challenge are the two most prominent motivating factors for women.
- Independence: Another important factor that motivates females is the sense of independence and job satisfaction. They feel that by doing something worthwhile they are doing justice to the amount of labour that had put in gaining educational qualifications and skills.
Kuwait is working hard in providing opportunities to the women and is ensuring that its female population take an active part in the development of the national economy.