Times are crazy, right? With COVID-19 spreading rapidly, causing unprecedented decisions to be made, bringing a lot of what we take for granted to a halt, it may seem a bit daunting and well, apocalyptic. We don’t blame you if you’ve been spending your days under a makeshift blanket fort binge-watching shows on Netflix or playing games with friends on Houseparty.
What good came through all of this? Well, the world has gotten together in ways that we haven’t seen in the past. Bahrain has had a share of amazing and great announcements made to take some of the burdens off startups and we put them here for you.
First, a massive unending round of applause to the historic effort #TeamBahrain has done throughout this crisis. No thank you in the world would be enough to every one on the medical, transportation, leadership teams, and anyone who has put the lives of others before theirs. We’re also grateful to have an ecosystem with entities that have come together to make this easier to go through.
Here’s what you need to know or may have missed:
- The Government of Bahrain has announced it will cover the cost of salaries of all insured Bahrainis in the private sector, including startups for up to three months from April 2020.
- The Government of Bahrain has announced it will cover the cost of electricity and water bills to subscribed startups for 3 months, starting in April 2020.
- Startups and businesses will be exempt from paying municipal fees for 3 months starting in April 2020.
- Startups and SMEs in tourism will be exempt from paying their tourism fees for 3 months starting in April 2020.
- Liquidity Support Fund increased to US$530m.
- The Central Bank of Bahrain will raise the lending capacity of banks by around BHD 3.7 billion to postpone loan installments.
- The Central Bank of Bahrain will raise the lending capacity of banks to add additional financing to those in need.
- Tamkeen will redirect all Labor Fund programs and direct them to support the affected startups and restructure the loans supported by them.
- Tamkeen has rolled out a new program called “Business Continuity Support,” which is designed specifically to cater to the requirements of businesses affected by the current market slowdown.
You can always call the Government Service Contact Centre on 80008001 for further details.
It’s not just Bahrain’s government that has taken steps to support Bahrain, but these entities have pitched in too.
- Skiplino goes free for all Bahraini government agencies, hospitals, and medical centers.
- Springring goes completely free for schools in Bahrain to help schools combat COVID-19.
- In efforts to address the challenges faced by startups and job seekers needing to work from home, Majra has made it easier to find work that’s flexible and can be remote! And are encouraging all their employers posting with them to consider this option moving forward.
- Telecommunication companies in Bahrain. Zain Bahrain, Batelco and stc Bahrain are offering their Fixed Fiber customers unlimited data usage until May 31st.
- The National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) announced a multi-pronged initiative that includes deferment on all monthly loans for Bahraini citizens for up to six months with no additional fee or interest.
- NBB increased the upper-limit on “Tap&Go” without a PIN from BHD 20 to BHD 50 to limit contact and lower the spread of the disease.
- Amazon Web Services are offering Amazon WorkSpaces for up to 50 users at no charge for new WorkSpaces customers, the offer is available through June 30, 2020. This offer will include their Standard, Value, and Performance bundles.
- Newest accelerator and co-working space in Bahrain, Brilliant Lab are going rent-free in March & April for their startups.
- The Startup Factory is offering their space rent-free for April & May for its tenants.
- Brinc has collaborated with JustMop to offer a 20% discount on disinfection services to their coworking startups.
- The American University of Bahrain announces support for Bahrain-based youth returning to Bahrain due to COVID-19.
- BIBF launches an e-learning platform as a substitute for regular classes.
We’ll continue updating this list and article as more announcements come through. Be sure to bookmark this and check it out often!
Need help when you’re stuck at home? Meet the 13 Bahraini startups that are here to help you out during isolation.
If you’re a startup looking for tools to help you work remotely, then you should definitely check out this handy guide we put together.