Gender and Youth Entrepreneurial Potential: Evidence from the United Arab Emirates

Rachid Zeffane


The study of entrepreneurship and its linkages to personal traits has been the subject of much interest and
research debate in recent years. In particular, much research has been devoted to the examination of youth
entrepreneurial potentials and how they might be enhanced. In all this, gender has been a contentious issue, for
opinions on whether or not the potential to become an entrepreneur is gender-driven have been rather mixed and
certainly not one-sided. This paper is an attempt to contribute to this debate by adding further empirical
evidence from the middle-east/gulf region. It draws on a sample of 503 students enrolled in business courses at a
University in the United Arab Emirates. Statistical analysis strongly revealed that there were no differences on
the overall entrepreneurial potentials between males and females. However, the only item of entrepreneurial
potential on which the two groups differed was their predisposition to risk taking. Consistent with previous
research, females were less disposed to taking risk. Overall, our findings on entrepreneurial potentials defeat the
commonly held stereotypical assumptions that females in middle-east countries may be less averse to
entrepreneurial activities than males. Implications for future and research and practice are discussed.

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