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UAEU study finds entrepreneurs hold the key to happiness

UAEU study finds entrepreneurs hold the key to happiness

Mon, 6 June 2022
United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) - Top Universities in Middle East

Research conducted by United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has shown how entrepreneurs may have the answer to the long-held pursuit of happiness. A team of researchers at the UAEU's Science and Innovation Park (SIP) have conducted a new country-specific Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report for the UAE, to measure the level of entrepreneurial activity in the Emirates and the quality of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They have also examined the potential relationship between entrepreneurship and happiness. Led by Prof Nihel Chabrak, Programs Director at the Science and Innovation Park and GEM UAE Team Leader and chairperson of the GEM UAE Chapter Steering Committee, and Dr. Chafik Bouhaddioui, Associate Professor at the College of Business and Economics and data specialist for the GEM UAE team, the goal of the study was to help local policy makers use entrepreneurship and innovation as a lever to increase the wellbeing of the UAE citizens in order to drive growth to new levels.

The study found that while the UAE as a whole has a high level of happiness, UAE entrepreneurs whether they are established or just starting out are among the happiest people across the country when it comes to personal wellbeing and satisfaction with their work conditions. Prof Chabrak said the GEM UAE team added five compulsory questions to the GEM 'Adult Population Survey' (APS) - a unique instrument used to measure the level and nature of entrepreneurial activity - conducted in 2016 to investigate the nature of happiness and its perception in the UAE, as well as the level of happiness of UAE citizens and entrepreneurs. One question simply asked whether participants felt they were happy, with the other four being related to the perceived nature of happiness in the UAE by linking it to objective life conditions, autonomy, sense of social belonging, and sense of purpose in life. "Based on the results obtained in 2016, we focused the analysis on the determinants of wellbeing, said Prof Chabrak. We adjusted the module of questions proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and built a new block of questions that we added to the APS conducted in 2017, with the aim of identifying the determinants of wellbeing. The findings will help us propose a framework for policy." This is not the first time that the GEM has studied happiness and wellbeing; in 2013, it introduced a novel approach to link entrepreneurship indicators with measures of wellbeing. "Taken together, the findings suggest that in each economy, and in world regions with close common heritage, framework conditions such as economic, political, institutional, and cultural contexts have a singular influence on the population s perception about its wellbeing, and that this consequently shapes the entrepreneurship indicators, said Prof Chabrak. "Moreover, we believe that in the UAE there is a lack of definition of happiness and wellbeing, and we wanted to make a contribution toward defining it. Finally, we believe that wellbeing is related to promoting quality of growth, as this has been defined by many researchers and the World Bank. This new trend will promote new opportunities that could be perceived by entrepreneurs which will increase the level of entrepreneurial activity in the UAE. Dr. Chafik Bouhaddioui said the findings show that people in the UAE see happiness as being related to all the factors included in the survey, including objective life conditions such as income levels and other material aspects of life. However, he said happiness levels significantly decrease for those whose annual income is more than AED192,000. "We are now in the second phase of analyzing the results of 2017 in order to propose a model for policymakers on how to enhance wellbeing in the UAE, using entrepreneurship as a lever, he said. "Development is about people and their wellbeing, which involves their ability to shape their lives, so this development must be inclusive of future generations and the earth they will inherit. Measures of development must include not just rates of growth, but the dispersion, composition, and sustainability of that growth. "We would like to bring the conclusions of our study to the relevant parties and to build an ecosystem that will boost happiness. That s why we created the GEM UAE Chapter Steering Committee, composed of representatives of key players in the ecosystem, like Tawazun, Dubai SME, Khalifa Fund, ICT Fund, the DED and Al Tamimi, to bring the GEM findings to the relevant decision makers, to support evidence-based policy making and regulatory impact assessment through our continuous work as observatory of entrepreneurial activity and ecosystem in the country. The report also studied how entrepreneurial activity may influence economic growth and the shift towards a knowledge-based economy; and the factors that may foster or hinder entrepreneurial activity in the UAE. It is designed to draw reliable comparisons between countries through using globally harmonized data, and will offer recommendations on how to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and increase entrepreneurial activity in the country. A trusted source among universities, investors, think tanks and government bodies among other entities, GEM is a global study conducted by a consortium of universities who look at two the entrepreneurial behavior and attitudes of individuals, and how national context impacts and influences entrepreneurship.  

United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) - Best University in Abu Dhabi, UAE


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