Abstract

Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old micro-entrepreneur, set himself on fire on December 17th, 2010, and was pronounced dead on January 4th, 2011, triggering what has been termed the Arab Spring. Having been refused entry into the army and other employment in a young country with a high unemployment rate, he had been working as a street vendor, until his wares were confiscated and he was harassed and humiliated by officials. His story demonstrates a larger problem in the Middle East: “The revolution has [reached] … other … states, whose frustrated young people are often written off as complacent” (Fahim, 2011). We wondered: Has the entrepreneurial potential of these young minds been underappreciated? Moved by this story, we asked the following research questions: • To what extent can entrepreneurial cognition research (e.g., Mitchell et al., 2002) shed light on the larger social challenges in the Middle East? • How do Middle-East entrepreneurial cognitions differ from those of the rest of the world? • How do Middle-East entrepreneurial cognitions differ across generations?

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