Bahrain may be the smallest country in the Gulf region, but its ambitions sure aren’t. In fact, the country has ambitious plans of building a vibrant startup ecosystem.
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The country’s investment promotion agency Bahrain Economic Development Board’s (EDB) Chief Executive Khalid Al Rumaihi tells YourStory that its liberal policies and stronger connect with India will put the country on an upward trajectory.
The Middle East is facing a challenge when it comes to job creation. The World Bank estimates 80 million jobs are needed in this region to cater to future generations graduating from schools. Bahrain is at the heart of this challenge, which is why the EDB is not only looking at attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) but also creating quality jobs in Bahrain.
When looking at the graduates, we also have to look at those who create jobs for themselves and others. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs benefit in Bahrain since it is a small country, which allows these startups and SMEs to first test their products or services and from there, scale beyond borders.
For a small business based in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), they’ll find that it is quite easy to scale very quickly from Bahrain to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and so on.
We wanted to be the hub for startups in the region, so we created Startup Bahrain. It is a community-driven initiative made up of startups, corporates, incubators, educational institutions, and the Bahraini government to promote the startup culture in Bahrain and beyond.
We looked at all the pillars that a startup ecosystem would need to thrive and began working heavily on each pillar. One of those pillars is regulation, and we introduced several new initiatives and laws to enhance the ecosystem for startups.
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