Saudi Arabia has world’s third-highest share of female entrepreneurs: Report

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Saudi Arabia has the third-highest percentage of women holding entrepreneurial roles, according to a report by London-based Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) which included 43 countries.

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A total of 17.7 percent of the Kingdom’s women are engaged in entrepreneurial activity, according to the survey, compared to 17 percent of Saudi men.

Most of the developed countries included in the report had lower rates of female entrepreneurship than Saudi Arabia, with the majority having between 50 to 100 percent more male entrepreneurs.

Developing countries had higher levels of female entrepreneurship, including Angola, which topped the list at 51.1 percent.

Panama was second with 29.1 percent and Saudi Arabia was third.

Overall female employment levels have soared in recent years, after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, implemented in 2016, brought about huge changes in women’s rights in the Kingdom.

It outlined, among other things, the goal of creating one million jobs for women by 2030.

In 2020, labor force participation for Saudi women rose from 25.9 percent in the first quarter to 31.4 percent in the second quarter.

In the last four years, female unemployment fell by 13.9 percent.

Since September 14, 2020, women cannot be discriminated against according to their gender when it comes to private sector salaries.

The Kingdom’s wider business environment was found to be favorable in the GEM survey. More than 80 percent of adults said that they perceived good opportunities to start a business.

However, an entrepreneurial mindset and good business environment did not always translate into taking action, as more than half of Saudis surveyed said that they “see good opportunities but would not start a business for fear that it might fail.”

The GEM report was put together after two surveys were conducted for each country. One survey featured interviews with a random sample of at least 2,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 64, and the second survey focuses on entrepreneurs and business leaders.

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