Social Entrepreneurship Strategies by the Middle Eastern Governments: A Review

  • Amir Forouharfar
Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


Middle East as one of the most socially, politically and culturally vulnerable parts of the world is in an unprecedented turmoil, at least from the Second World War onward. Although there are plenty praiseworthy and socially entrepreneurial examples in some of the countries of the region, the flagrant and bare facts in this mostly war and drought stricken zone of the world with its numerous potentially smoldering social problems drove the middle eastern governments not to have a passive role but to dynamically choose strategic visions and missions and actively pave the way towards choosing social entrepreneurship strategies. This paper tries to provide an overview of the governmental SE strategies in the middle eastern countries; therefore, it is a review paper and relies mostly on secondary data, facts and figures which are issued by the authentic governmental agencies of these countries, the non-governmental operational SEOs, the UN, UNDP, UNHCR, UNESCO, GEM, ECOSOC, World Economic Forum, the World Bank, etc. Finally, the social entrepreneurship strategic views of each government in the Middle East are classified and a strategic model for social entrepreneurship strategy formulation in the public sector is proposed.


Social Entrepreneurship (SE) Middle East (ME) Governmental strategy 


  1. Abdou E, Fahmy A, Greenwald D, Nelson J (2010) Social entrepreneurship in the ME: toward sustainable development for the next generation, a report by Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings, Dubai School of Government, and SilatechGoogle Scholar
  2. Adetu S (2014) AIESEC Pursues Social Entrepreneurship for Economic Development. Spygahna. Accessed on 26 Sep 2016
  3. Ahlert D, Ahlert M, DuonDinh HV, Fleisch H, Heußler T, Kilee L, Meuter J (2008) Social Franchising: a way of systematic replication to increase social impact. Bundesverb and DeutscherStiftungen, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  4. Al’Shanfari DA (2012) Entrepreneurship in Oman: a snapshot of the main challenges, multi-year expert meeting on enterprise development policies and capacity-building in science. Technology and Innovation (STI) (Fourth session), Geneva, 16–18 JanuaryGoogle Scholar
  5. Allen LH, William JK, Robert SK, Julia TT, Courtland W (2007) The next four billion: market size and business strategy at the base of the pyramid. World Resources Institute and International Finance Corporation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  6. Al-Wakeel D (2015) Champions of change: Jordan’s Social Entrepreneurs, Oct. 6, Venture Magazine. Accessed 1 Jan 2017
  7. Aravind website.: Accessed on 1 Jan 2017
  8. Arno A, Thomas S (2016) The efficacy of nudge theory strategies in influencing adult dietary behaviour: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health 16:676. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Banks J (1972) The sociology of social movements. MacMillan, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Better Regulation Unit Malta website: Accessed on 7 Jan 2017
  11. Bloom P, Smith BR (2010) Identifying the drivers of social entrepreneurial impact: theoretical development and an exploratory empirical test of SCALERS. J Soc Entrep 1(1):126–145Google Scholar
  12. Bornstein D (2004) How to change the world: social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Bornstein D, Davis S (2010) Social entrepreneurship: what everyone needs to know. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Bos JWB, Candelon B, Economidou C (2016) Does knowledge spill over across borders and technology regimes? J Prod Anal 46(1):63–68. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bosma N, Levie J (2010) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2009 Executive ReportGoogle Scholar
  16. CFA institute (2015) Environmental, social, and governance issues in investing: a guide for investment professionals. ISBN: 978-1-942713-21-0.,
  17. Chandler B, Adlem M (2014) Bribery, corruption and fraud in the Middle East, EYGM LimitedGoogle Scholar
  18. Crimi J (2017) Nudge Units Land in the Middle East. Cobham Feb.2: Accessed on 10 Feb 2017
  19. CRO Forum (2013) Environmental, social and governance factors in country risk management: a new horizon, October, The Netherlands,
  20. Dacin TM, Dacin PA, Tracey P (2011) Social entrepreneurship: a critique and future directions. Organ Sci 22(5):1203–1213. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dees JG (1994) Social enterprise: private initiatives for common good. Harvard Business School Press, HarvardGoogle Scholar
  22. Dees JG (1998a) The meaning of social entrepreneurship. Accessed 11 Jan 2017
  23. Dees JG (1998b) Enterprising Nonprofits. Harv Bus Rev 76(1):54–67Google Scholar
  24. Dees JG (2008) Developing the field of social entrepreneurship. Center for the advancement of social entrepreneurship. Duke University, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  25. Dees JG, Anderson B (2006) Rhetoric, reality, and research: building a solid foundation for the practice of social entrepreneurship. In: Nicholls A (ed) Social entrepreneurship: new models of sustainable social change. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 144–168Google Scholar
  26. Dees JG, Emerson J, Economy P (2001) Enterprising nonprofits: a toolkit for social entrepreneurs. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Dees GJ, Emerson J, Economy P (2002) Strategic tools for social entrepreneurs: enhancing the performance of your enterprising nonprofit. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Dees GJ, Anderson BB, Wei-Skillern J (2004) Scaling social impact: strategies for spreading social innovations. Stanf Soc Innov Rev Spring:24–32Google Scholar
  29. Diffen website: Franchising vs. Licensing. Accessed 11 Jan 2017
  30. Drayton W (2002) The citizen sector: becoming as entrepreneurial and competitive as business. Calif Manag Rev 44(3):120–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Drucker P (1985) Innovation and entrepreneurship. Harper Business, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Ebrashi RE (2013) Social entrepreneurship theory and sustainable social impact. Soc Respon J 9(2):188–209. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. ECOSOC, Economic and Social Council (2015a) LIMUN (London International Model United Nation), 16th Session, Study GuideGoogle Scholar
  34. ECOSOC, Economic and Social Council (2015b) General Assembly Official Records, Seventieth Session Supplement No. 3, United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. El-Bayar K (2010) The legal and regulatory framework governing social entrepreneurship in the Middle East: opportunities, challenges, and the way forward (unpublished background paper prepared for the ME Youth Initiative, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, 2010), cited in Abdou E, Fahmy A, Greenwald D, Nelson J (2010) Social entrepreneurship in the ME: toward sustainable development for the next generation, a report by Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings, Dubai School of Government, and SilatechGoogle Scholar
  36. Forbes (2013) Saudi Arabia. Accessed 1 Dec 2014
  37. Forbes (2016) The forgotten man rises again-but which one? Davenport, D. Nov. 9, 2016. Accessed 7 Jan 2017
  38. Forouharfar A, Yaghoubi NM, Motamedifar M (2014) Entrepreneurial timing theory: time entrepreneurship and time strategy. Asian J Res Bus Econ Manag 4(11):1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Franklin Lewis, GOLESTĀN-E SA’DI, Encyclopaedia Iranica, XI/1, pp. 79–8. Accessed 1 Jan 2017
  40. Gebre, B.; Hallman, P.; Minukas, M. and O’Brien, B. (2012) Transforming government performance through lean management. McKinsey Center for Government, December. Accessed 16 Jan 2017
  41. GIMUN (2016) Empowering female entrepreneurs in developing countries. Accessed 3 May 2019
  42. Global Competitiveness Report (2008–2009) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  43. Global Competitiveness Report (2009–2010) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  44. Global Competitiveness Report (2010–2011) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  45. Global Competitiveness Report (2011–2012) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  46. Global Competitiveness Report (2012–2013) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  47. Global Competitiveness Report (2013–2014) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  48. Global Competitiveness Report (2014–2015) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  49. Global Competitiveness Report (2015–2016) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  50. Global Competitiveness Report (2016–2017) World Economic ForumGoogle Scholar
  51. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2005) Report on women and entrepreneurship. Prepared by Maria Minniti, I. Elaine Allen, and Nan LangowitzGoogle Scholar
  52. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2010) GEM-MENA regional report 2009 (Middle East and North Africa). Prepared by Stevenson, Lois, Daoud, Yousef, Sadeq, Tareq and Tartir, Alaa at International Development Research Center, Cairo, EgyptGoogle Scholar
  53. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2011) Report on social entrepreneurship: executive summary. Prepared by Siri Terjesen, Jan Lepoutre, Rachida Justo, Niels Bosma and the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA)Google Scholar
  54. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2012) Global report. Prepared by Siri Roland Xavier, Donna Kelley, Jacqui Kew, Mike Herrington, and Arne VorderwülbeckeGoogle Scholar
  55. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2013) Global report: fifteen years of assessing entrepreneurship across the globe. Prepared by José Ernesto Amorós and Niels BosmaGoogle Scholar
  56. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2015a) Special report: women’s entrepreneurship. Prepared by Donna Kelley, Candida Brush, Patricia Greene, Mike Herrington, Abdul Ali, and Penny KewGoogle Scholar
  57. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2015b) Global youth report. Prepared by Thomas Schøtt, Penny Kew and Maryam CheraghiGoogle Scholar
  58. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2015c) Special topic report: social entrepreneurship. Prepared by Niels Bosma, Thomas Schøtt, Siri Terjesen, and Penny KewGoogle Scholar
  59. Global Humanitarian Assistance Report (2016) Development Initiatives Ltd. Accessed 11 Feb 2017
  60. Grameen Bank website: Accessed 1 Jan 2017
  61. Grieco C (2015) Assessing social impact of social enterprises. Springer Briefs in Business. doi:
  62. Hajjar RR, Atli T, Al-Mandhari Z, Oudrhiri M, Balducci L, Silbermann M (2013) Prevalence of aging population in the Middle East and its implications on cancer incidence and care. Ann Oncol 24(Suppl 7):vii11–vii24. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Harding R (2004) Social enterprise: the new economic engine? Bus Strateg Rev 15(4):39–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Harvey J (2015) Blood money: is it wrong to pay donors? The Gurdian, Sunday, January 25, 2015. Accessed 28 Dec 2016
  65. Hatem T (2007) LYDEC: Providing Electricity, Water and Sanitation to Casablanca’s Shanty Towns, Growing Inclusive Markets Case Study. New York: UNDPGoogle Scholar
  66. Higuera V (2017) What is the difference between co-option and co-optation? Accessed 29 Jan 2017
  67. Housseini B (2009) Middle-Eastern and North African NGOs’ Participation in the United Nations Economic and Social Council: Current Situation, Challenges and Solutions, the Headquarters Internship Program of the United Nations, Summer Session 2009Google Scholar
  68. International Labor Organization (2015) World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2015/International Labor Office. ILO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  69. Karafariniye Omid website: Accessed 1 Jan 2017
  70. Kassis S, Majaj Y (2012) CSR and philanthropy: different forms of effective social investment. In: Jamali D, Sidani Y (eds) CSR in the Middle East: fresh perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Krlev G (2012) Strategies in social entrepreneurship: depicting entrepreneurial elements and business principles in SEOs from Germany and Bangladesh. ACRN J Entrep Perspect 1(1):61–96Google Scholar
  72. Light P (2008) The search for social entrepreneurship. Brookings Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  73. Lindquist K (2013) Synthesis of lean information and practice in government: a transportation synthesis report. Prepared by Office of Research and Library Services Washington State Department of Transportation, by the request of Katy Taylor (Assistant secretary strategic, enterprise, and employee services: Washington State Department of Transportation)Google Scholar
  74. Locke S (2015) UAE must recognize social enterprise as a business entity. The National. Accessed 23 Feb 2017
  75. London T, Hart SL (2011) Next generation business strategies for the base of the pyramid: new approaches for building mutual value. Pearson Education, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  76. Mair J, Marti I (2006) Social entrepreneurship research: a source of explanation, prediction and delight. J World Bus 41(1):36–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Makki F (2017) Nudge units are just the tool for effective policy. The National Business. January 9. Accessed 20 Jan 2017
  78. Manton S (2005) Integrated intellectual asset management. Gower Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-566-08721-9Google Scholar
  79. Mavra L (2011) Growing social enterprise: research into social replication, a report from the Social Enterprise Coalition, January.
  80. Mercy Corps (2012) Civic engagement of youth in the ME and North Africa: an analysis of key drivers and outcomes, March. Accessed 27 Jan 2017
  81. Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc. (MIX) and Sanabel (2009). 2008-Arab Microfinance Analysis and Benchmarking Report. Accessed 8 Jan 2017
  82. Moghadam VM (2004) Towards gender equality in the Arab/Middle East region: Islam, culture, and feminist activism (no. HDOCPA-2004-06). Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP)Google Scholar
  83. Moreno JM, Brodmann S (2012) Is being employable enough to get a job in the Arab World ? The double transition from education to work in MENA. Accessed 10 Jan 2017
  84. Nicholls A (2008) Capturing the performance of the Socially Entrepreneurial Organization (SEO): an organizational legitimacy approach. In: Robinson J, Mair J, Hockerts K (eds) International perspectives on social entrepreneurship research. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 27–74Google Scholar
  85. Nicholls A (2009a) Learning to walk: social entrepreneurship (a research review). Innovations: Special edition on Social Entrepreneurship, pp 209–222Google Scholar
  86. Nicholls A (2009b) We do good things, don’t we?: Blended value accounting. Soc Entrep Acc Organ Soc 34(2009):755–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Nicholls A, Cho A (2006) Social entrepreneurship: the structuration of a field. In: Nicholls A (ed) Social entrepreneurship: new paradigms of sustainable social change. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 99–118Google Scholar
  88. Nicholls A, Young R (2008) Introduction: the changing landscape of social entrepreneurship. In: Nicholls A (ed) Social entrepreneurship: new paradigms of sustainable social change, Paperback ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp vii–xxiiiGoogle Scholar
  89. Nieva FO (2015) Social women entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. J Glob Entrep Res 5(11):1–33. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Nolen-Hoeksema S, Fredrickson BL, Loftus GR, Wagenaar WA (2009) Atkinson and Hilgard’s introduction to psychology, 15th edn. Cengage Learning, Hampshire, p 614Google Scholar
  91. Novethic SRI Research Center (2013) Overview of ESG rating agencies. Accessed 3 Jan 2017
  92. Nuqul Group (2010) Communication in Progress Report 2010. Accessed 8 Sep 2011
  93. Nyssens M (2006) Social enterprise. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  94. OECD (2010) Regulatory policy and the road to sustainable growth (Draft report). Accessed 2 Jan 2017
  95. OECD (2016) Youth in the MENA region: how to bring them inGoogle Scholar
  96. Rienzi G (2013) Money is an incentive for blood donations, study suggests. Johns Hopkins Magazine. Accessed 16 Jan 2017
  97. RobecoSAM’s Country Sustainability Assessment (2016) Country sustainability ranking update – November 2016. Accessed 22 Jan 2017
  98. Rowshan A, Forouharfar A (2014) Customized social entrepreneurship theory and customized social entrepreneurship strategy as a theory conceptualization and practice towards sustainable development in Iran. Asian J Res Soc Sci Humanit 4(8):367–385Google Scholar
  99. Salama, H. (2016) Women entrepreneurship in MENA: an analysis. Accessed 14 Feb 2017
  100. Salarzehi H, Armesh H, Nikbin D (2010) Waqf as a social entrepreneurship model in Islam. Int J Bus Manag 5(7):179–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Sanchez B (2016) 10 Policy tools that governments are implementing to spur social enterprise. Accessed 18 Jan 2017
  102. Schramm C (2010) All entrepreneurship is social. Stanford School Innovation Review, Spring. Accessed on 13 Feb 2017
  103. Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (2011) Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs 2011. Geneva. Accessed 23 Oct 2011
  104. Seelos C, Mair J (2009) Hope for sustainable development: how social entrepreneurs make it happen. In: Ziegler R (ed) An introduction to social entrepreneurship: voices, preconditions, contexts. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 228–246Google Scholar
  105. Social Enterprise Mark website (2017) Accessed 24 Jan 2017
  106. Social Progress Imperative Report (2016) Social progress index. Prepared by Michael E. Porter, Scott Stern and Michael Green, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  107. Southgate M (1984) Men, women and boys: love and sex in the works of Sa’di. Iran Stud 17:423–452Google Scholar
  108. Synergos Annual Report (2014) Accessed 10 Jan 2017
  109. Tadesse A (2009) A perspective on SME financing in Africa. Priv Sect Dev 1:16–18Google Scholar
  110. Talib F (2015) Social entrepreneurship: focus on the ME. Dissertation, Amity University, December 5th, Dubai, No. A40106412028Google Scholar
  111. Thaler R, Sunstein C (2008) Nudge. Penguin Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  112. The Economist (2005a) Hale and healthy, April 14thGoogle Scholar
  113. The Economist (2005b) Calling an end to poverty, July 7thGoogle Scholar
  114. The Economist (2005c) Good for me, good for my party, November 24thGoogle Scholar
  115. The Economist (2006a) The rise of the social entrepreneur, February 23rdGoogle Scholar
  116. The Economist (2006b) Special topic: the business of giving, February 23rdGoogle Scholar
  117. The Economist (2006c) The new powers in giving, June 29thGoogle Scholar
  118. The Economist (2006d) The fight over a big idea, July 20thGoogle Scholar
  119. The Economist (2007a) Fish versus AIDS, August 30thGoogle Scholar
  120. The Economist (2007b) The Clinton factor, September 25thGoogle Scholar
  121. The Economist (2009) Saving the world, special report on entrepreneurship, March 14thGoogle Scholar
  122. The Economist (2015) Why social entrepreneurs are taking the lead, December 15thGoogle Scholar
  123. Thorat U (2006) Financial inclusion and millennium development goals. RBI Bull 50(2):239–243Google Scholar
  124. Times of Oman (2016) Knowledge Oman develops social entrepreneurs for Oman, Jan, 3rd. Accessed 26 Jan 2017
  125. TIMUN (2013) Unemployment in the Middle East. Turkish International Model United NationsGoogle Scholar
  126. Tracey P, Jarvis O (2007) Toward a theory of social venture franchising. Entrep Theory Pract 31(5):667–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  127. UNCTAD, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2015) Policy guide on youth entrepreneurshipGoogle Scholar
  128. UNDP’s Iraq Human Development report (2014) Iraqi youth challenges and opportunities. Ministry of Planning and Baytal Hikma, IraqGoogle Scholar
  129. UNESCO (2013) Social entrepreneurship for marginalized youth. Accessed 27 Jan 2017
  130. UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2016) Global trends – Forced displacement in 2015. Accessed 1 Apr 2016
  131. United Nations Development Program (2007) Fighting climate change: human solidarity in a divided world. Human Development Report 2007/2008. New YorkGoogle Scholar
  132. Uvin PSP (2000) Think large and act small: toward a new paradigm for NGO scaling up. World Dev 28(8):1409–1419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  133. Volkmann CK, Tokarski KO, Ernst K (2012) Background, characteristics and context of social entrepreneurship. In Social entrepreneurship and social business. Germany: Springer, Gabler. doi:
  134. Weeks JR (2009) Women business owners in the Middle East and North Africa: a five-country research study. Int J Gender Entrep 1(1):77–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  135. Wilson R (2002) Economic development in the Middle East. Taylor and Francis e-Library, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  136. World Bank (2016) World Development Indicators database. Gross Domestic Product 2015, PPP. Wikipedia: Accessed 1 Jan 2017
  137. World Economic Forum (2011) Accelerating entrepreneurship in the Arab World. A World Economic Forum report in collaboration with Booz and Company, OctoberGoogle Scholar
  138. World Economic Forum (2015) The global gender gap index results in 2015. Accessed 1 Jan 2017
  139. World Economic Forum’s Annual Report (2015–2016) Accessed on 1 Jan 2017
  140. Yunus M (2003) Banker to the poor: the story of the Grameen Bank. Aurum Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  141. Yunus M, Weber K (2007) Creating a world without poverty: social business and the future of capitalism. Perseus Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  142. Zald M (2000) Ideologically structured action: an enlarged agenda for social movement research. Mobilization 5:1–17Google Scholar
  143. Zald M, Davis G (2005) Social change, social theory, and the convergence of movements and organizations. In: Davis G, McAdam D, Scott W, Zald M (eds) Social movements and organization theory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 335–350Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amir Forouharfar
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Sistan and BaluchestanZahedanIran

Personalised recommendations