The Saudi Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Lab

A dynamic forum bringing together the various stakeholders to create collaborative efforts in fostering entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia
 Launching this Fall of 2013

 Navigating Saudi Arabia's Entrepreneurship Ecosystem 

Government policies have a clear impact on the different stages of entrepreneurial ventures. To spur entrepreneurism, government should create a venture-friendly climate by reducing the constraints facing entrepreneurs. It also needs to design policy that encourages research that spawns more innovation. Another way government can stimulate entrepreneurship is by boosting the availability of financing.[1]

[1] See chapter 5 of Lerner, J. (2009). Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed – and What to Do About It. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 


Accessing adequate capital is essential for starting and growing a new business. Equally important, entrepreneurs need to understand the different funding options available and what choice is more suitable at each stage of their venture lifecycle. Sources of capital for a new business fall into two broad categories: debt financing (i.e., borrowing money and then repaying it usually with interest) or equity financing (i.e., money is invested in the business in exchange for partial ownership.) 


A national culture, consisting of the beliefs and practices of a given society, plays a key role in influencing entrepreneurship. For example, a culture that encourages risk-taking and tolerates failure could have a substantial effect on cultivating conditions conducive for entrepreneurship. Furthermore, cultures could have an influence on shaping social perception around entrepreneurship. Studies have shown that higher entrepreneurial activity tends to be associated with cultures where entrepreneurs have high social status.[1]  

[1] Etzioni, A. (1987), Entrepreneurship, adaptation and legitimation, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 8, 2, 175-189.


The section reviews four major elements under the supports domain with respect to Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem; namely, non-government organizations (NGOs) that support entrepreneurship, professional service providers such as accounting and legal, incubators, and infrastructure including Information & Communication Technology (ICT)

Human Capital
In its special report of the Global Education Initiative, the World Economic Forum noted that: "Entrepreneurship education, in its various forms, can equip people to proactively pursue those opportunities available to them based on their local environments and culture."[1] Expanding and improving the local talent pipeline is key to bolstering the entrepreneurial activity.

[1]  Educating the Next Wave of Entrepreneurs: Unlocking Entrepreneurial Capabilities to Meet the Global Challenges of the 21st Century.” A Report of the Global Education Initiative. The World Economic Forum. April 2009.

Markets & Networks

Entrepreneurs need an environment of early customers (adopters) and networks of entrepreneurs to conceive, test, market and scale their new products and services. This section looks at these two elements of “markets” and “networks” with regard to Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurial environment. 

 Launching this Fall of 2013

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