A few years ago, I was invited to be a Juror in the Ecole d’Été Internationale pour Jeunes Entrepreneurs (www.eeije.com) at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada. As I was a Lebanese coming for the Arab region, I was also asked to give a talk regarding the “Business Culture in the Arab World” (in French of course!) to the participants, who were mostly from French-speaking Europe and Quebec.
- Economy: based mostly on oil & real-estate, negative growth over the past 50 years
- Scientific: high illiteracy rates, low Internet and mobile penetration, low patents
- Social: individualistic, closed family businesses, not open to capital injections, fear of risk and failure, consumers vs producers of technology
- Politics: monarchies, bureaucracies, no transparency, unstable regions
- Universities: no corporate or government funded R&D, theory-driven rather application-driven, more concerned about academic reputation than commercial reputation (unlike their US counterparts such as MIT, Stanford, etc)
- Financial: lack of VCs and business angels, no exit strategies, no developed financial markets
- Low number of science parks & incubators
- etc etc.