Future talent needs to be looked after carefully to develop successful entrepreneurs, according to a new report from an influential mentoring organisation.

Nurturing Human Capital: The Missing Piece of MENA’s Entrepreneurship Puzzle – released by the Mowgli Foundation – suggests that potential is being wasted as organisations are not investing enough in the leaders and thinkers of tomorrow. It stresses the particular importance of implementing mentoring programmes.

The report says it is significantly harder to be successful as an entrepreneur in the Middle East, compared to Europe or the US, with loneliness, lack of confidence, nervousness about risk-taking and an inability to achieve a work-life balance all cited as potential obstacles.

It takes more than money to help these entrepreneurs grow, says the report: “They need to be nurtured within a balanced ecosystem that places equal importance on the development of their core human capacity and the strengthening of their leadership.”

Matt Jennison, head of training at BizGroup, suggests the reason for the lack of investment could be the transient nature of many roles. “Organisations can be reluctant to inject resources into training staff who only plan to stay a few years,” he says. “The idea that you should not expend time and energy on people because they might leave is a short-sighted strategy that will only do harm to your business and its profit margins.”

Dr Alia Al Serkal, senior director of talent management at telecoms giant Du, says: “Keeping in mind the economic situation that the world is facing at the moment, organisations have to rethink how they manage their human capital.

“Our challenge is making sure we have the right career plans for our nationals and the right opportunities for them to challenge themselves, so they stay with our company for the long term.”

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