Women, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability: The Case of Saudi Arabia

Nadia A.Abdelmegeed Abdelwahed, Bettina Lynda Bastian, Bronwyn P. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


We ran two focus groups with well-educated Saudi women; there were ten participants with established businesses and ten nascent entrepreneurs. Despite the Saudi Vision 2030’s centring of environmental sustainability as a key tenet of the country’s development, the women entrepreneurs we studied (both established and nascent) were not well informed on the topic. Further, the well-educated women in our sample were under pressure from neither their customers nor their own religious, financial, or moral imperatives to engage in sustainable practices or seek out and implement sustainable business in any form. Our respondents believed that government should incentivise businesses to undertake sustainable practices and saw no financial benefits to initiating these practices themselves. Contrary to previous literature, we found that the women entrepreneurs in our sample did not perceive sustainability as an entrepreneurial opportunity and, in many cases, did not believe that sustainability should be an intrinsic element of any for-profit business. Our research findings imply that the prevalent top-down policy approach used by the government to promote sustainable entrepreneurial practices needs to be complimented by a more inclusive multi-actor approach that would involve local and national stakeholders. Moreover, educational policies need to promote the integration of sustainability topics within the larger educational system to promote awareness and social change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11314
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • GCC
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vision 2030
  • entrepreneurship
  • sustainability
  • women
  • women entrepreneurship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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