Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region: The Uncharted Territory
TWCF Number
Project Duration
May 1 / 2023
- April 30 / 2025
Core Funding Area
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
Amount Awarded

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Moustafa Haj Youssef
Institution Liverpool John Moores University

The Middle East and North African (MENA) region is challenged with high unemployment. A research team led by Moustafa Haj Youssef at Liverpool John Moores University will conduct a comprehensive survey to create a novel dataset on labor market trends and business ownership in the MENA region. The survey will cover Egypt, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The data will encompass a large amount of information on individuals’ socio-economic and demographic characteristics, such as age, education, income, marital status, labor market outcomes, household characteristics, and parental background. The survey will include questions about the respondent’s work experience, which will provide information that is lacking in other datasets in the MENA region. A section on the respondent’s personality traits and sense of agency in their own lives will also provide data that is scarce for the MENA and most other regions.

This project will categorize workers into different groups, such as self-employed and paid workers.The socio-economic and demographic characteristics of each group will be analyzed to understand their differences, taking into consideration the role played by cultural, social, religious, and institutional differences among the countries studied. The project will further differentiate self-employed individuals into “sustained self-employed” and “dabblers self-employed", a distinction that has not previously been made in the MENA region. The researchers also plan to estimate the returns to education of different groups of workers, and to capture diversity of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic among the groups.

The researchers anticipate the generated dataset will contribute to academic research on job-type preferences and labor market dynamics in the MENA region. They hope dissemination of the findings to social communities will increase awareness about the economic structure and potential opportunities, and that the information will help policymakers in economies with limited research capabilities make informed decisions on resource allocation and social welfare optimization, particularly during times of crises.


Opinions expressed on this page, or any media linked to it, do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. does not control the content of external links.
Person doing research
Projects &
Explore the projects we’ve funded. We’ve awarded hundreds of grants to researchers and institutions worldwide.

Projects & Resources