Insights from Female Entrepreneurs in MENA Countries: Barriers and Success Factors

  • Catherine LaffineurEmail author
  • Mohsen Tavakoli
  • Alain Fayolle
  • Neila Amara
  • Monica Carco
Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


The objective of this chapter is to provide a comprehensive picture of the situation of women entrepreneurs in the MENA region. The study is based on an original survey conducted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in six countries—Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, between 2015 and 2016. The main results of the study are as follows. First, there exists a discriminatory environment for women entrepreneurs in MENA regions. They encounter difficulties in accessing finance, which constitutes their principal obstacle to entrepreneurship. They feel that the existence of stereotypes and preconceptions about the role and abilities of women are important barriers to entrepreneurship. Secondly, their primary need in terms of their activities is entrepreneurial education—they must learn how to manage others successfully and to maximise their entrepreneurial skills. Thirdly, the socio-economic characteristics of women entrepreneurs are important determinants of business growth and dedication. Specifically, we observe that education, networks, and experience in business are important drivers of firms’ size and export potential, whilst governance, structure and marital status are factors influencing the percentage of women employed in women’s businesses. Finally, we note that married women who have their own premises to house their entrepreneurial activities, as well as less educated single women, are more engaged in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial activities.


Female entrepreneurship Middle East and North Africa Entrepreneurial commitment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Laffineur
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohsen Tavakoli
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alain Fayolle
    • 2
  • Neila Amara
    • 4
  • Monica Carco
    • 4
  1. 1.Côte d’Azur University – CNRS – GREDEGValbonneFrance
  2. 2.Em Lyon Business SchoolEcullyFrance
  3. 3.CERAG (Centre for Studies and applied Research in Management) – FRE 3748 – CNRSUniversity of Grenoble-AlpesSaint-Martin-d’HèresFrance
  4. 4.United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)ViennaAustria

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