Representing the University in the Conference was Professor at the Innovation and Technology Management Department Dr Fairouz Al Dhammour, who presented the results of a research highlighting the challenges faced by females in developing countries in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation.
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shedding light on the important role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in empowering women entrepreneurs and studying the challenges that females face in developing countries in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dr Al Dhammour affirmed the importance of this research in shrinking the existing gap between the high female entrepreneurship intent in these countries and the low percentage of business activities being carried out in reality, according to the findings of the 2019 Women’s Business Report, which is annually issued by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).
Explaining further, Dr Al Dhammour stated:
“The research concluded with a number of challenges, the most important of which were social capital. In this context, the study recommended the need to help build social relationships and use them in an appropriate manner, which helps facilitate female entrepreneurship activities by identifying potential markets and opportunities, reducing transaction costs and attracting clients, investors and suppliers.”
The Professor clarified to the attendees that the results of the research showed that social capital is considered the first obstacle to women’s intent in entrepreneurship, adding that human capital represents a serious challenge identified in this research, and citing several other publications, reports and researches that documented this issue, such as Danish and Smith (2012), Azmat (2013) and Bhardwaj (2014).
The research, which included an online survey questionnaire, indicated that entrepreneurship education is a vital factor in building human capital, breaking cultural taboos and female stereotypes in business, and promoting an entrepreneurial culture. Therefore, Dr Al Dhammour and Dr Al Khawaldeh recommended the necessity of introducing entrepreneurship courses into schools’ curricula from an early stage, in order to raise awareness about this issue.
The Professors also said around 90 percent of the participants in the survey indicated that human capital is an important problem, making it the second obstacle to women’s participation in entrepreneurial work, while they also underlined the effective use of ICT as an important enabler of female entrepreneurship and innovation in developing countries.
“The role of ICT in empowering women in developing countries to become entrepreneurs was considered a critical factor by the participants, who saw the growth of new ICTs, such as the Internet and social media networks, provides new opportunities for women to become entrepreneurs, as well as to efficiently run their own businesses,” Dr Al Dhammour said.
She added: “The main findings of this study indicate that human and social capital play an important role in impeding women’s entrepreneurship. However, it also emphasised the positive role of ICT in empowering women. Hence, an integrated theoretical model for accepting information technology will be required to take these aspects into consideration for future research in this field. This future work will add to the research and publications on the use of ICT and its outcomes by developing a comprehensive understanding of how ICT lead to women’s empowerment.”
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