Entrepreneurship Driven By Opportunity and Necessity: Effects of Educations, Gender and Occupation in MENA

DOI 10.14707/ajbr.180049

Niloofar Nasiri
Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Iran

Nicolas Hamelin
Department of Marketing, SPJAIN-School of Global Management, Australia


Issues of unemployment and gender inequality loom large in the Middle East and North Africa, and such social problems of inclusiveness are often thought to be solvable, or at least reducible, by expanding entrepreneurship. People become entrepreneurs for several reasons. Some are pulled by seeing an opportunity for business. Others are pushed by the necessity to make a living, especially when they cannot get a better job. Their motives are likely to depend on their background and circumstances. The purpose here is to account for how, in the Middle East and North Africa, gender, education, and occupation (employment) influence whether people become entrepreneurs because they are pulled by opportunity or pushed by necessity. A sample of 12,515 nascent entrepreneurs from 17 countries was surveyed by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor during 2009-2014. Representativeness of sampling enables generalization to the Middle East and North Africa. We found that whether entrepreneurs are pulled by opportunity or pushed by necessity depends on their level of education. Higher education increases the probability of being pulled by opportunity rather than being pushed by necessity, as was expected. Motive also depends on occupation. The pull of opportunity is especially frequent among entrepreneurs coming from full-time employment and from studies. The push of necessity is especially frequent among entrepreneurs coming from unemployment, as hypothesized. Surprisingly, gender has no discernible effect on the motives for becoming entrepreneur. The study contributes to understanding how people’s educational background and occupational circumstances variously pull and push them to become entrepreneurs. The study suggests that education is a policy option for increasing the pull of opportunity and thereby for increasing gender equality and sustainable employment in the Middle East and North Africa.

Keywords: Opportunity-driven Entrepreneurs, Necessity-driven Entrepreneurs, Education, Gender, Occupation, MENA.

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