MUSCAT, JULY 7 – The Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2019 survey, conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading career site, and market research agency YouGov, has found that nearly 7 in 10 professionals in Oman prefer to be self-employed. Moreover, 70 per cent are currently thinking of starting a business, 18 per cent have tried to start their own business in the past, while 8 per cent never thought of starting their own business.
The survey found that, if given the choice, nearly two-thirds (72 per cent) of Oman residents aspire to be self-employed/have their own business. When asked about the reasons for this preference, ‘personal fulfilment’ (43 per cent) and ‘freedom to choose work-life balance’ (50 per cent) emerged as the top reasons. ‘Being my own boss’, ‘ability to give back to the community’ and ‘higher monetary gains’ were also cited reasons.
Those who have already started their business seem to have similar reasoning. When asked about the reasons Oman professionals have for starting their own business, the top three answers were: more income (33 per cent), wanting to do what they love (27 per cent) and having a great business idea/concept (25 per cent).
Of those who prefer to seek employment in a company, 52 per cent said they prefer employment to learn new skills, 39 per cent prefer it for stability of employment/ job security, while 35 per cent prefer it to have a regular income, and 30 per cent state the main reason for their preference is lack of finances to start own business.
“Understanding the views of entrepreneurs in the MENA is essential to maximizing impact and drive growth and innovation in the economy,” said Omar Tahboub, General Manager, Bayt.com. “Not only does Bayt.com conduct surveys annually and share our learning about the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship for the benefit of the sector, we also work closely with startups and new businesses to ensure their talent needs are secured easily and cost-effectively during these critical early stages.”
Oman entrepreneurial ecosystem
Entrepreneurship continues to be a growing trend in MENA. Despite the usual challenges of setting up a business, the Bayt.com report indicates that entrepreneurship has become more popular than ever before. Many entrepreneurs are looking to grow their start-ups and establish business. Over a third of respondents have personal ambitions to grow their business further in their country of residence (35 per cent), followed by 23 per cent who aim to become an important international player. In fact, with growth in mind, two in three respondents (64 per cent) are planning to hire for their business in Oman within the next year.
The top concern of respondents while setting up their own business, would be procuring finances to start (53 per cent), the uncertainty of profit/income (46 per cent). Likewise, among those who tried to start a business in the past, financial-related obstacles were the main challenge they faced.
The most appealing industries for entrepreneurship in Oman are considered to be Commerce/ Trade/ Retail (10 per cent) followed by Real Estate/ Construction/ Property Development (8 per cent) and Tourism (8 per cent).
Mentoring and Support
The survey shows even greater benefits of entrepreneurship for societies and the economy. The perceived image of entrepreneurs in the region is very positive —- Oman respondents perceive entrepreneurs to be opportunity-driven (87 per cent) and they help in creating new jobs (82 per cent).
The best pieces of advice offered to budding entrepreneurs by respondents in Oman is to not be afraid of failure and having a great business plan. Over a quarter of respondents believe that innovation is the ‘key to success’ as an entrepreneur (28 per cent), followed by ‘being close to clients or customers’ (22 per cent).