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Business and Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia by Edward Burton

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Chapter 4Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia Today

DEFINING “ENTREPRENEUR” IN SAUDI ARABIA

Early in preparation for this book as I began to conceptualize the archetypal Saudi entrepreneur, I found myself thinking of him or her foremost as possessing the drive, luster, and promise of youth. In the United States, entrepreneurs are of all ages and come from a diversity of life's situations and backgrounds. When most Americans think of entrepreneurial pursuits, they think of them as primarily being started by people from different age groups including middle-aged career veterans as well as the recently unemployed. In Silicon Valley, however, the bastion of the U.S. high tech industry, the needle on the entrepreneurial age meter turns hard toward the identity of the “young entrepreneur.”

There is a growing tendency in the United States to think of startups and entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in the high-tech industry, as those begun by those aged 30 years or younger. If you ever visit Silicon Valley, you will be undoubtedly struck by the scarcity of people aged 40 years or older. As Noam Scheiber, political and economic writer and commentator, wrote in an article on age and Silicon Valley in The New Republic magazine: “Silicon Valley has become one of the most ageist places in America. Tech luminaries who otherwise pride themselves on their dedication to meritocracy don't think twice about deriding the not-actually-old.”1 In the article, Scheiber went on to refer to a 2007 comment ...

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