Int. J. of Sustainable Society   »   2017 Vol.9, No.1



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Title: Social entrepreneurship in the UAE: challenges and recommendations


Authors: Deena Abdo; Cody Morris Paris


Middlesex University Dubai, Dubai Knowledge Park – Blocks 16, P.O. Box 500697, Dubai, UAE Dubai, UAE
Middlesex University Dubai, Dubai Knowledge Park – Blocks 16, P.O. Box 500697, Dubai, UAE; School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH), Bunting Road Campus, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Abstract: The purpose of this study is to explore current challenges facing social entrepreneurs in the UAE, and provide recommendations that can contribute to the development of the growing and vibrant community of social entrepreneurs in the UAE. The UAE is a recognised regional and global leader in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. Recognising this, this study seeks to contribute thoughtful insights that can help the UAE embrace social entrepreneurship and further act as a catalyst to push social entrepreneurship forward within the wider region. Based on primary interviews with key informants, several key challenges were identified related to a lack of institutional support a lack of social and cultural awareness regarding social entrepreneurship within the UAE. Further challenges include a lack of clear benchmarks related to monitoring and measuring social impact. Overall, the challenges identified highlighting the need for more government and institutional support, as well as a stronger link between the corporate sector, academia, and the social enterprise sector.


Keywords: sustainable development; non-profits; GCC; corporate social responsibility; CSR; social investing; innovation; third sector; competitiveness; sustainability; UAE.


DOI: 10.1504/IJSSOC.2017.10006593


Int. J. of Sustainable Society, 2017 Vol.9, No.1, pp.41 - 60


Submission date: 14 Aug 2016
Date of acceptance: 31 Jan 2017
Available online: 09 Aug 2017



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