Entrepreneurship in Kuwait

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is process, working together is success” – Henry Ford

Kuwait has a long history of a bustling merchant culture. Since the 18th century, the country has been known for trading and exporting goods, building boats, or its pearl industry. However, after 1938 and the discovery of oil in the country, Kuwait's entrepreneurial spirit started to hibernate as massive oil wealth and a relatively small population helped to guarantee jobs for anyone.

As we now witness a significant fluctuation of Kuwait's oil prices, the rest of the GCC countries must diversify their local economies. For this reason, HH the late Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah implemented a long-term vision New Kuwait 2035, where entrepreneurship is one of its cornerstones.

With an increasing number of youngsters studying abroad and getting new ideas and concepts, Kuwait has seen many start-ups mushrooming throughout the Emirate. Trendy cafés and restaurants, fashion brands and tech are amongst the sectors to be highlighted. In the latter, exits such as JustClean, Talabat, Carriage, and Boutiqaat have established themselves as references in the entire region. Kuwait is emphasizing on its IT infrastructure by developing a second to none 5G network. The nation is trying to position itself as a technological hub in the Middle-East.

Also, governmental entities such as the National Fund for SME or KFAS are trying to incentivize people to develop innovative ideas to tackle today's challenges. KFAS has been extraordinarily active during the COVID-19 pandemic by making calls for projects that would improve Kuwait's supply chain, food autonomy and health sector.

The private sector and more prominent corporations also have their part to play in developing and igniting the entrepreneurial spirit within people and the youth. The formal educational system alongside internships and special programs offering real-world opportunities is essential to skilling people for Kuwait's future.

Kuwait's entrepreneurial spirit has allowed the nation to maintain a stable growth despite the oil crisis OPEP countries have experienced. Nonetheless, there is still margin for improvement, and the SME eco-system is currently being built and developed. For this reason, it is of paramount importance that all parties work together to generate a positive environment where knowledge transfer will develop growth through the creation of shared-value.