Socio-demographic factors and network configuration among MENA entrepreneurs

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International Journal of Emerging Markets


– The field of entrepreneurship has seen a dramatic increase in studies focusing on networks and relations. Research in this area has thus far focused on how the structure and quality of entrepreneurs' existing interpersonal ties shape information access and thereby influence entrepreneurial outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to extend the focus further by examining how the entrepreneur's socio-demographic profile affects advisory network configuration in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) context. – In this paper, the authors used Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data, at the individual level (total early-stage entrepreneurial activities) in 14 countries within the MENA region over the course of three years (2009, 2010 and 2011). The sample of networks is obtained from the entrepreneurs identified among the adults interviewed in the adult population survey of GEM participating countries from the MENA region. – Strong evidence was found that socio-demographic variables such as gender, age, income and education have an impact on the usage of advice-seeking networks by entrepreneurs across MENA. For instance, the findings suggest that women entrepreneurs in the MENA region tend to rely more on personal networks compared to male entrepreneurs. – The paper's contribution is novel in providing empirical evidence exposing the interplay between socio-demographic factors, new venture start-up phases, to entrepreneurial networks. Prospective scholarly research need to improve our understanding about the effects of network evolution on the entrepreneurial trajectory, as well to develop a greater understanding on how, when and why MENA-based entrepreneurial networks emerge, develop and change over time. © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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