28 Mar

GUST and GFC Partner with George Washington on Academic Research to Improve Local SME Landscape

GUST CBA Dean, Prof. Antonis Simintiras; Dr. Sulaiman AlAbduljader, GFC Founding Director; and Mr. Nawaf AlAbduljader, GW PhD Researcher
GUST CBA Dean, Prof. Antonis Simintiras; Dr. Sulaiman AlAbduljader, GFC Founding Director; and Mr. Nawaf AlAbduljader, GW PhD Researcher

GUST’s Gulf Financial Center (GFC) collaborated with George Washington University (GW) PhD researcher, Nawaf Al-Abduljader, on a study to compare Kuwaiti undergraduates’ entrepreneurial intentions against their contemporaries in the United States. The goal is to provide the necessary information to understand and develop the entrepreneurship and small business ecosystem in Kuwait.

Dean of the GUST College of Business Administration, Professor Antonis Simintiras, said: “The collaboration was brought about to portray the value of partnerships between academic institutions, and both public and private sectors, in order to contribute towards the development of Kuwait’s strategic plan and vision of 2035. We hope this initiative brings about a much needed meaningful data on the current landscape of the SME community and those who are considering entering the field.”

PhD researcher, Nawaf Al-Abduljader, from GW was able to obtain funding from the Kuwait Ministry of State for Youth Affairs to conduct the research. A partnership with GFC, and its strategic partner Boubyan Bank, was brought about to survey 460 students and assist in the data collection process and analysis.

GW PhD Researcher, Nawaf Al-Abduljader, said: “I would like to thank the Kuwait Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, GW, and GUST, for their support and cooperation throughout this study. Our goal is to understand the Kuwaiti entrepreneur. Most of the studies of this nature focus on the administrative and economic aspects, while this study focuses on a vital aspect – which is the individuals themselves, their motivation and their concerns. This is the first study of its kind in the region, and I hope that its results will yield beneficial and necessary change in the policies governing entrepreneurs and their businesses.”

The study was conducted through a series of extensive surveys fielded from 460 undergraduate students in business in Kuwait. The sample was compared with 264 U.S. graduate students, and the initial revelation was that 83% of the respondents in Kuwait intend to become entrepreneurs in the future. When looking at the data more closely, one sees that only 18% expressed they never want to start a business, compared to 40% in the U.S. The study also reveals that the support students in Kuwait receive from family, friends, and colleagues to become entrepreneurs, stimulated more positive attitudes. Two implications of the findings suggest that in order to encourage students to become entrepreneurs, the community needs to influence student’s attitudes towards entrepreneurship and the rewards associated with becoming an entrepreneur, as well their belief in their ability to succeed as entrepreneurs. In summary, four main aspects were suggested to increase student’s attitudes: education, media exposure, mentorship programs, and experiential learning. The results obtained were shared with the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) in hopes of being able to enlighten them towards creating policies that would result in continuous improvement.

GUST, as an academic institution, will always strive to create collaborations with local and international institutions in order to provide various types of support and encouragement for its community to develop and grow.