GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
Van Baarle
First Name:
Title of Paper:
How inspirational visits to countries with a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem can inspire young GCC nationals
Paper Proposal Text :
Are you born an entrepreneur or do you need to be inspired to become an entrepreneur?

This question has occupied my mind ever since I started strolling the path of entrepreneurship. I am a close follower of developments in the GCC and apply this knowledge for businesses in the Netherlands.

The GCC is full of initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship. Despite these initiatives, working for the government is still the preferred career. It's safe and pays well.

In this paper, I investigate various initiatives to stimulate entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates, as an example of a GCC country heavily investing in support for (future) entrepreneurs.
Also, I look at studies about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the GCC, with specific attention to women's entrepreneurship, an area I hold special interest in.

I argue for more learning outside the classroom at a young age by introducing young GCC nationals to the entrepreneurial climate in other countries. Countries like the Netherlands and the United States have a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the Netherlands for example, incubators within universities stimulate students to already work on their future businesses. With a very open economy, the Dutch are true traders and every new generation brings new successful traders to the market. Getting young GCC nationals acquainted with different visions on and varieties of entrepreneurship and the support system around it, can inspire them to also choose the path of entrepreneurship.

I think these visits are of utmost importance because inspiration is an important catalyst for development. If the goal is to really stimulate entrepreneurship, inspiring needs to start at a young age. Think end K-12 or early higher education, at least before making a career choice.

In order to make these visits accessible and affordable for a wide range of students, I would recommend cooperation between educational institutions and businesses in the GCC. This way, these visits can be accessible to every citizen and not just the elite. On a national level, this can help further develop the entrepreneurial climate in the GCC. And, most importantly, this will lead to motivated, inspired young people who contribute to building a knowledge society.

I will conclude my paper with possible set ups of these visits, including the role incubators play, the importance of role models and some striking examples.

Research Questions
• What can we learn from initiatives to support entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates?
• What can we learn about studies on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the GCC?
• What is the position of women in this system?
• How can we increase interest of young people in entrepreneurship?
• How can inspirational visits contribute to a broader entrepreneurial basis?

• AlMunajjed, M. and K. Sabbagh. Youth in GCC Countries Meeting the Challenge.Booz & Company, Inc. Ideation Center Insight Paper, 2011, (accessed January 15, 2014)
• Gallup Report: Lack of Mentors May Hinder Women's Entrepreneurship in GCC (accessed January 16, 2014)
• Silatech Index Brief: Volunteerism Linked to Entrepreneurship Among Young Arabs
• Arab Human Development Report: Job Creation in the Arab Economies: Navigating through difficult waters, 2010, (accessed January 16, 2014)
• Dubai SME:
• Khalifa Fund: