Huang & Van Horne Four E Entrepreneurship Policy Framework and Key Recommendations

This post provide a condensed exert from the GEM UAE 2011 Report and is copyrighted material of the authors of the report. It can be downloaded here: UAE 2011 GEM Report

If you would like to quote the report or this blogpost please use the following details: 

Van Horne, C., Huang, V., and Al Awad, M. 2012. “UAE GEM Report 2011”, Zayed University, UAE

This year the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2011 UAE report presents the Huang & Van Horne Four E Entrepreneurship Policy Framework. This model is based on the assumption that entrepreneurship is the intersection of enterprising individuals and the availability of opportunity.

Huang & Van Horne 4 E Entrepreneurship Framework 

There are four interconnected components which support entrepreneurs and the opportunities they have recognized, from the birth of their ideas to scaling up and going global with successful products and services.

Education is at the heart of giving future entrepreneurs the confidence to make the leap, make wise decisions and to know where to go for guidance and assistance. It can also help build an entrepreneurial mindset in individuals, who might have ideas – but fear the unknown. Education about entrepreneurship helps reduce fear by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and skills needed to bring dreams to life.

Ecosystem is the supporting infrastructure in which an entrepreneur operates. Regulations, licensing processes, incubation centres, banks, capital markets, and universities, all support entrepreneurs taking maximum advantage out of opportunities.

Export and looking outside of national and regional borders for ideas, for customers and suppliers is essential in a small market such as the UAE. Taking advantage of the unique geographical and demographic makeup of the UAE can give entrepreneurs operating here an edge over international competition.

Enthusiasm is all about supporting the passion that makes an entrepreneur tick. Being a successful entrepreneur means overcoming frustrations and putting in the long hours necessary to transform dreams into reality.

The following are recommendations and action steps that can be taken by policy makers to develop a coherent strategic entrepreneurial policy framework to support a diversified, innovative and competitive economy.


•           Link knowledge creation and venture creation to speed the conversion of ideas into market-ready enterprises. Government as well as large business conglomerates need to invest in research and development activities, building industry-university collaboration through government facilitated and funded applied research project.

•           Improve the match between education and employment opportunities. Develop a job-ready workforce through various levels of education opportunities, training, and apprenticeships as well as other education-industry links, including new structures for schooling. Entrepreneurship ecosystems must contain the skills competitive enterprises need to grow and prosper and must connect people with opportunities to gain those skills.

•           Inject entrepreneurial mindset and behavior into national/regional curriculum at all levels - primary, secondary, vocational, higher education and non-formal education and training, alongside integration of profession-based teaching and learning in all disciplines and curriculum.

•           Encourage UAE youth to acquire some level of entrepreneurial experience before leaving secondary school either as a formal part of the curriculum or as an extra-curricular activity that is overseen by the school or a non-formal education body.


•           Establish or invest in institutions that are sources of enduring strength, including centers of innovation zones, technology transfer (such as MASDAR, KUSTAR), knowledge creation, university based incubators or innovation academy, apprenticeships, and high-quality education linked to long-term human capital development.

•           Support integrated and coordinated solutions that direct resources to regional coalitions, initiatives, programs and public-private partnerships with coherent strategies, such as small company mentoring or ties between established businesses, corporate social responsibility projects and higher education institutions.

•           Review current small business regulatory environment against international best practices. Stringent immigration related labor regulations coupled with the current regulatory system negatively affect the number of high-impact entrepreneurs. This is an important point for policy makers to note because these entrepreneurs contribute greatly to job creation.

•           Develop strategies that improve the flexibility of labor, communications and market openness while eliminating bureaucracy and invariability of business start-up process across different Emirates, which will contribute to a more entrepreneurially-focused business environment.

•           Mediate the connection between small and large enterprises to promote the growth and success of SMEs in the UAE and revitalize large corporations through partnerships with innovative SMEs. When a small business becomes a corporate supplier, it can experience significant growth. For large companies, increased supplier capabilities could lower costs, improve performance, and simplify its supply chain.

•           Foster an efficient private and public mechanism for entrepreneurship finance. Governments can overcome finance and knowledge gaps through increasing the availability of financial and informational resources. Policies aimed at the development of a venture capital market, direct financial support and the knowledge base can be increased through access to capital market and dedicated small business finance schemes


•           Build a holistic international export strategy by facilitating collaborations through strengthened partnership with rapidly advancing economies (i.e. BRICS countries), as well as building a government led SME cooperation platform and policy to deepen existing strong UAE trading partners such as China, Japan and South Korea.

•           Improve the information and advisory network (accountants, lawyers, investors, etc.) of start-up business owners with more than one stakeholder about their position towards each other, support and resources available. Policy makers have a role to play in defining the growing and competitive markets for the future in UAE and invest in small businesses to penetrate those markets.

•           Develop a dynamic, international competitive human capital strategy to attract and retain highly qualified talent in the UAE. Mobility and diversity of human capital are often key ingredients to enhanced global trade and internationalization. As one of the most international oriented, culturally diversified nation in the world, UAE is yet to reach its full potential.


•           Create energy for making positive social changes through entrepreneurship, facilitated by media attention, events, and awareness campaigns. Entrepreneurship is not a heroic act of a few individuals, but the accomplishments of many people who pursue their ambitions in a supportive cultural and institutional environment. GEM global data reveal that cultures which reward hard work and creativity, rather than social and personal connections, will encourage entrepreneurial development.

•           Develop a program for Emirati government employees to take an entrepreneurship leave, similar to an education leave, to reduce the high level of risk associated with leaving a secure and well-paid government job to start a new venture. A certain number of employees could even be provided with office space and basic support to incubate their ventures.  This type of sabbatical program can also be applied by the private sector which can also develop programs to incentivize and recognize innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits.

•           Identify and reward excellence, invest in the best ideas, and spread institutional innovations. National competitiveness requires the unique capabilities and involvement of organizations in collaborations that produce innovative solutions and businesses. Intrapreneurship training and initiatives (such as a short-term career break to pursue entrepreneurial venture for public sector employees) should be encouraged and launched. Leaders tomorrow can be institutional innovators.

•           Connect business, education, social leaders across different sectors to develop regional strategies and produce scalable models that build on local assets, capabilities, and attract new investment. Ecosystems are inherently local. In each emirate, city or cluster, government organizations together with educational institutes, community, social groups - must come together to enrich the ecosystem.

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