More entrepreneurs in the Arab world are interacting and establishing their businesses in English, creating a broad network of personnel based largely on English terminology. But is this posing a threat to the role and significance of the Arab language in the business world?
English is considered to be the world’s business language, which enables aspiring entrepreneurs from all regions to communicate and connect effectively. Arab entrepreneurs still feel that they are losing their Arab identity, as 63% youth in the region are concerned about the declining use of Arabic.
Literacy in the Gulf States is 98%, but it is increasingly in English, not Arabic. Being fluent in English nowadays is a must to succeed in any work field, but that doesn’t necessarily incline the elimination of the Arabic language from the business frame. One of the major effects not using Arabic would have on the entrepreneur is leaving out a majority of investors, bright minds, opportunities that are Arabic speaking. furthermore, considering the diverse nature of the GCC countries as a platform for global competitions and companies, entrepreneurs also need to include English to be able to take advantage of opportunities like Seedstars and FinTech Abu Dhabi.
According to Arab Youth Survey, 56% of Arab youth use English more than Arabic. Some find the Arabic tech terms to be hard to integrate into the business lingo used among startups, and are better equipped with English terms to communicate their ideas to their audiences. Others feel the complete opposite, preferring to speak comfortably in their mother tongue.
The dilemma between wanting Arabic to be the language of the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and adopting English to be apart of the international business frame puts pressure on Arab entrepreneurs to overcome challenges like language barriers. Yet, there are many strong examples of Arabic successfully integrating with startup businesses like Souq.com that was acquired by Amazon due to its booming progress. Other similar examples are Careem achieving huge success in UAE and Egypt, and Talabat which is the go to app for ordering food.
The language Arab entrepreneurs adopt in their businesses does not matter as much as the value of the product they are offering to their local market. With the growing need for English, there is also an increasing need for fresh, brilliant ideas.
Does the bilingual nature of the Middle Eastern entrepreneur still pose a threat to the Arabic Language or does it give unique opportunities they can thrive from?