The Arabia 50|500 – The Entrepreneurs Sparking Jobs and Innovation in The Middle East and North Africa

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The Arabia 50|500 – The Entrepreneurs Sparking Jobs and Innovation in The Middle East and North Africa

AllWorld Network, a Boston-based global economic development firm, today released “The Arabia 50|500 Leading Indicators,” the first real-time data on the performance of growth companies in the Middle East and North Africa.

The release of this previously unavailable information is timed to coincide with President Obama’s summit conference to promote entrepreneurship in developing countries. Representatives of 40 countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa will assemble in Washington to discuss “the role entrepreneurship can play in addressing common challenges while building partnerships that will lead to greater opportunity abroad and at home,” according to a government release.

AllWorld’s economic model gives great value to increasing the visibility of existing businesses. Visibility builds business clusters and creates an ecosystem of smart capital, talent and opportunities to continue to power companies forward. The American economy, the envy of the world, arguably does not have better entrepreneurs but a better ecosystem to power growth. The Arabia 500 will give the entrepreneurs of the Middle East and North Africa a global ecosystem for growth. AllWorld calls this Visibility Economics(TM).

“Visibility Economics(TM) can change the economic trajectory of countries and continents,” said Anne Habiby, co-founder of AllWorld Network. “The inescapable fact is, it is the most effective way for countries to power up in the 21st century.”

“The Arabia 50|500 Leading Indicators” are data collected from the top 50 applicant businesses based in Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Saudi and the United Arab Emirates, with Saudi Arabia and Jordan leading the pack. The results show that the Middle East has the caliber of entrepreneurs that meet, and in some cases exceed, US standards for sophistication and intensity.

In 2008, co-founders Deirdre M. Coyle, Jr., Anne Habiby and chairman Harvard professor Michael Porter, an acclaimed expert on global competition, launched AllWorld Network, a for-profit firm whose model includes identifying the fastest-growing companies in emerging countries. First was Saudi Arabia where they developed a list called the Saudi Fast Growth 100 with partners the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and AlWatan Newspaper.

A year later, AllWorld launched the Arabia 500 – a massive effort across the Middle East and North Africa to find and advance the fastest-growing emerging companies of the region with partners The Monitor Group, Business Council for International Understanding, Siraj Capital, Sukoon International and National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. The Arabia 500 Leading Indicators will serve as a benchmark database around which future initiatives will be developed. In AllWorld’s plans are also the Africa 500, Asia 500, Latin America 500 and Eurasia 500.

The data are impressive. The top 50 companies average $20 million in revenues and 200 employees. These companies have doubled in size since 2006, growing a stunning 40% a year. The companies have a higher level of “entrepreneurial intensity” than their US counterparts with each Arabia 500 entrepreneur having formed an average of two other companies, most of which are still in existence. Additionally, nearly 75% of the entrepreneurs expect to launch another company in the next two years. The results around “entrepreneurial intensity” suggest that these founders have acute market-timing skills and are adept at taking concepts from idea to implementation. (Please visit for full report)

“The most dynamic economies are those in which entrepreneurs are finding new products and technologies to replace the old,” explains Coyle. “The indicators released today show clearly that this process, though receiving little publicity, is actually thriving in the Middle East and North Africa. Innovative companies, the majority of them operating under the radar, can be found in developing countries the world over.”

Coyle added, “The challenge for emerging countries is that their growth companies stall at a small size because they are not known. What AllWorld does by bringing visibility to these enterprises is help power them forward. Eventually, these fast growing dynamic businesses become the foundation of a national economy.”

Turning Up the Dial in The Next Six Months

Despite the global economic crisis, most of the companies grew in 2009, and 95% of the companies expect significant growth in the next six months, with several predicting sales growth of 25-50%. Also in the next six months, they expect to add a significant number of jobs. Constraining growth, owners say, is the difficulty finding qualified managers and employees. Mirroring growth entrepreneurs in the US, most of the Arabia 500 companies offer profit sharing to managers and employees and provide significant on the job training. These companies also act as powerful incubators, with an average of two employees per company having spun off with their own entrepreneurial ventures.

“We have benchmarked the sophistication, intensity and mindset of the Arabia 500 entrepreneurs, and unsurprisingly we found the same entrepreneurial DNA in them as we have found in our work with their US and European counterparts,” concluded Habiby. “What they lack, and what the regions of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America lack, is visibility to sustain rapid growth.”

Contact: Deirdre M Coyle, Jr.




Source: AllWorld Network

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