Discussing the Role of Entrepreneurial Universities in COVID-19 Era in the Middle East

  • Oualid Abidi Australian College of Kuwait Branch, Kuwait
  • Vladimir Dzenopoljac College of Business and Economics, United Arab Emirates University http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2974-6466
  • Aleksandra Dzenopoljac Independent researcher


Research Question: This conceptual research explores the role that academic entrepreneurship can play in Middle Eastern countries in addressing the effects of COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Motivation: Entrepreneurial universities are pivotal in contemporary economic systems due to their significant contributions in innovation efforts. Part of their mission is seen in the commercialization of their scientific knowledge through the creation of spin-offs (Cvijic et al., 2019; O'shea et al., 2005; Rodrigues et al., 2019). The challenges and constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the importance of coordinating the efforts of all parties including those of entrepreneurial universities in order to develop vaccines and generate healthcare solutions which could be patented and commercialized afterwards. Hence, this paper identifies the factors which can reinforce the entrepreneurial insertion of universities and increase their capacity in supporting collective efforts aiming at combatting the COVID-19 aftermath. Idea: Based on a review of recent literature, the purpose of this conceptual study is twofold: identify the predictors and the success factors of academic entrepreneurship; and argue for research propositions that could guide future empirical research. In addition, this paper provides insights into the current evolution of the entrepreneurial experiences of Middle Eastern universities. Data: This explorative research was based on an extensive literature review of the core aspects relevant to academic entrepreneurship. Recent references published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals with the primary focus on the Middle East or other developing economies were targeted in order to build up the conceptual model revolving around nine research propositions. Tools: Selected references were reviewed and categorized around the mainstream themes identified by the authors, i.e., impact of entrepreneurial universities, antecedents of academic entrepreneurship, and its success factors. For each block, several research propositions were derived and presented. Findings: The literature review findings argue for the potential role that specific factors can play in promoting the entrepreneurial engagement of Middle Eastern universities, namely the national institutional framework, an easy access to funding sources, the existence of interrelations with local organizations and the quality of the university’s organizational infrastructure. The conceptual framework assumes also that the performance of entrepreneurial universities would depend on the number and quality of relationships with the industry, the support of venture capitalists and the intensity of their entrepreneurial and market orientations. Contribution: This research contributes essentially in underlining the growing importance of academic entrepreneurship and how it can be a rewarding choice for Middle Eastern policy makers.

Author Biographies

Oualid Abidi, Australian College of Kuwait Branch, Kuwait

Dr. Oualid Abidi has a Ph.D. in Administrative Sciences from Université Laval (Canada, October 2011). He also holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (Canada, 2005), and a Bachelor degree in Finance completed in 2002 at Institut Supérieur de Gestion de Tunis in Tunisia. Dr. Oualid Abidi is serving currently as associate professor of management at the Australian College of Kuwait since February 2021. Prior to that appointment, he held several teaching and administrative positions at higher academic institutions in Kuwait and Canada.

Vladimir Dzenopoljac, College of Business and Economics, United Arab Emirates University

Vladimir Dzenopoljac is an associate professor of Strategic Management at the College of Business and Economics, na United Arab Emirates University, UAE. Before this, he was associate professor at College of Business Administration within American University of the Middle East in Kuwait. He received his PhD Degree from the University of Kragujevac, Serbia, in the field of impact of intellectual capital on value creation in contemporary enterprises. Alongside his academic career, Vladimir provided consultancy services in the fields of strategy development and execution,business planning, and financial planning and analysis. He has published a significant number of research papers in his field of professional expertise and has been involved in implementation of several projects for small, medium, and big companies. His areas of professional interest are strategic financial management and intellectual capital management.

Aleksandra Dzenopoljac, Independent researcher

Aleksandra Dzenopoljac is an independent researcher and industry practitioner with extensive corporate experience in areas such as marketing, human resource management, strategic and business planning, as well as in the field of supply chain management. Aleksandra received her bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Kragujevac, Serbia, in the field of Marketing. In the last 15 years, she has occupied junior and senior managerial positions in companies in logistics, manufacturing, and entertainment industries.

How to Cite
Abidi, O., Dzenopoljac, V., & Dzenopoljac, A. (2021). Discussing the Role of Entrepreneurial Universities in COVID-19 Era in the Middle East. Management:Journal Of Sustainable Business And Management Solutions In Emerging Economies, 26(2), 55-66. doi:10.7595/management.fon.2021.0014