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Businesswomen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Characteristic, growth patterns and progression in a regional context

Syed Zamberi Ahmad (Marketing and Management Department, College of Business Administration, Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to highlight findings from the dialogue and proceeding research report presented by the Gender and Public Policy Programme partnered with Al‐Sayedah Khadijah Bint Khuwailid Businesswomen Center and Monitor Group at the 2010 Dubai School of Government.


A selected paper on women entrepreneurship activity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was chosen from the proceedings report at the conference for this paper. The programme participants included prominent business leaders and experts from the Gulf region.


The findings presented in this paper clearly illustrate that Saudi female entrepreneurs are generally confident, educated, optimistic about the future and resourceful. However, they face several main challenges such as gender‐specific obstacles in the regulatory environment, limited access to and use of formal capital and financing mechanisms, and the need for increased integration of sophisticated marketing and technology tools into business operations and greater availability of key support services.

Research limitations/implications

The paper mainly focuses on women entrepreneurs in the KSA. To give a clear picture of the women's entrepreneurial activities in Middle East and North Africa region, the opinions of women located in other countries need to be investigated.

Practical implications

The research has implications for government and non‐governmental organisations, financial institutions or other related business development agencies to formulate effective policy and appropriate strategy to motivate Saudi women to become entrepreneurs.


There are few Arab studies that have focused on growth‐oriented, women‐owned and operated businesses. The selected research paper gives some insight into the issues of women entrepreneurs from an Arab world.



Zamberi Ahmad, S. (2011), "Businesswomen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Characteristic, growth patterns and progression in a regional context", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 610-614.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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