Arab gov'ts 'not doing enough for entrepreneurs'

Region's governments and lenders are not encouraging entrepreneurial ideas, says Silatech CEO
Arab gov'ts 'not doing enough for entrepreneurs'
Dr Tarik Yousef, CEO of Doha-based Silatech.
By Sara Anabtawi
Mon 25 Jun 2012 12:15 PM

Arab governments are not doing enough to help young entrepreneurs in the region, according to the boss of an initiative designed to create more jobs for young people.

Dr Tarik Yousef, CEO of Doha-based Silatech, claimed that there is a lack of government-led schemes aimed at encouraging young people into the entrepreneurial sector, leading many to instead choose careers in the public sector.

“I do not think there are enough government initiatives in the region that... are really trying to tackle multiple areas of concern when it comes to the choice young people face outside the public sector,” he told Arabian Business.

“Nobody is doing any serious work on this issue. It is easy to say ‘we are supporting our youth and offering jobs in the public sector,’ but it is another thing to tackle the choice they face if you really want them to become entrepreneurs,” Dr Yousef added

Dr Yousef also hit out at the region's financial institutions, which he claimed are too reluctant to fund entrepreneurial ideas and start-up projects, which lenders deem as being too high risk.

“Look around you in the UAE, in Qatar and most of the Gulf countries. How many banks are willing to actually lend to young people for business purposes?” asked Dr Tarik Yousef.

“Most of them are happy to lend possibly to individuals for consumption purposes. Nobody is working on changing the constraints here. I hate for this debate to always be focused on whether youth are inclined to become entrepreneurs or not,” he added.

Silatech was founded in 2008. The initiative targets 18 to 30-year olds in the region with the aim of encouraging more entrepreneurial ideas and creating employment opportunities.

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