UAE and Saudi Arabia have world's youngest successful entrepreneurs

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have the youngest successful entrepreneurs in the world, according to a survey by HSBC’s private banking arm.

The survey found that 63 per cent of people who own a business with a turnover of more than US$6.5 million and have a personal wealth of more than $250,000 in the two countries are under 35 – what the bank calls “millennial entrepreneurs”.

Entrepreneurs in those two countries also start younger than anywhere else in the world, with an average age of 26 when they launch their own business.

The oldest entrepreneurs are to be found in the United States, where 62 per cent are over 55, and in the United Kingdom, with 48 per cent. Middle- aged entrepreneurs – 35 to 55 – are more in evidence in France and Germany, HSBC found.

The survey, conducted among 2,800 entrepreneurs last year, also showed a big difference in wealth-generating trends between East and West.

An entrepreneur in the Middle East, China, Hong Kong and Singapore is likely to employ 100 workers and generate revenues of more than $10m – roughly double the compar­able figures for America, Britain, France and Germany.

Sobhi Tabbara, HSBC’s head of private banking for the Middle East, said: “Young people are one of the Middle East’s biggest assets. Their entrepreneurial drive is reshaping and redefining the future of their economies.

“Their creative forward thinking is supported by governments intent on making it easy for small and medium start-ups. This is a recipe for success. Now is a great time to be a millennial entrepreneur in the Middle East.” HSBC found that the journey to entrepreneurship in the Middle East begins for 46 per cent of business innovators at school or college, which is the highest level in the world. About 25 per cent discover a business opportunity while in a professional career.

Entrepreneurs outside the western world “define value creation not so much by personal fortune but by the size of the businesses that individuals have managed to create”. By contrast, in the West “per­sonal wealth is a more important marker of entrepreneurial success”, HSBC said.

The report also found that there is a growing “philanthropic impulse” in millennials ­globally.

In the Middle East, the younger generation of business leaders are more likely than their older counterparts to structure their giving through a foundation or an estate plan, and are more likely to volunteer their experience to social causes.

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