Like his father, Roland Daher considers himself an entrepreneur.
But when Mr Daher quit his job to start a venture of his own, his father did not appear impressed by the decision.
"The look in his eyes was like I was dying," said Mr Daher.
"He's an entrepreneur," he said of his father, noting how much more difficult it can be for someone to start out alone in business if no one else in the family has already been an entrepreneur.
Mr Daher is the head of business development at Wamda, which invests in early-stage ventures and supports entrepreneurship in the Middle East, Africa (Mea) and Turkey. He was one of the speakers on a panel last week at the Abu Dhabi campus of the international business school Insead who discussed how to expand this region's private sector.
Expanding the number and size of private enterprises in Mea, however, requires more than producing risk-takers such as Mr Daher.
"For the private sector, we don't need all of us to be successful entrepreneurs, because there are people who are better managers," said Ludmilla Figueiredo, who is based in the UAE to support the Middle East offices of Endeavor Global, which selects and helps high-impact entrepreneurs as they expand their companies.
"We have complementary skills and need to understand what we do best in life," she said.
For those who have already chosen entrepreneurship, many of the barriers that were discussed at Insead would sound familiar. Yet some experts argued that few government bodies in Mea have taken enough steps to help aspiring business owners launch and then develop enterprises.
High start-up costs such as licensing fees, as well as mandatory office rental in some jurisdictions, are often the first challenge entrepreneurs encounter once they put a business plan into action. However, "the cost to de-register a company is sometimes higher than the cost to register", Mr Daher warned. "This is a hurdle."
Education also plays an important role, although the lack of courses and programmes aimed at aspiring business owners means that parents often push young graduates to pursue traditional occupations.
In poorer nations, especially in northern Africa, a graduate is often expected to start a career with a stable salary that will provide support to the family.
"Usually the entrepreneurs would like to have a way forward," said Hazem Mulhim, the chief executive of EastNets, a payments solutions company that was founded in Jordan and now operates in 14 countries.
"Any entrepreneur would need proper education; in our part of the world it's not available," Mr Mulhim said.
Some universities in Mea have introduced MBA degrees and executive education programmes in recent years, but business experts have called for shorter, more affordable options as well.
"I'm an MBA graduate, and I wouldn't send [an entrepreneur] on an MBA graduate programme," said Mr Daher. "To carry on with his start-up, he almost surely doesn't have US$100,000 [Dh367,310] to spend on executive education or an MBA.
"We need to bridge that gap."