StartUp Bahrain Week kicked off last week from 3rd – 8th March with some really exciting activities for the startup community – from panel discussions, talks, pitching competitions, to a hackathon. Let’s not forget to mention the number of influential speakers that came from all around the world to attend this exhilarating week!
StartUp Bahrain Week was held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), and was organized by EDB and the community-led initiative StartUp Bahrain in strategic partnership with Tamkeen.
For a week, the entire country was bustling with incredible events celebrating entrepreneurship and tech startups which formed the region’s first dedicated week of startup events. StartUp Bahrain Week brought together more than 2,000 people from all around the world and enabled them to connect and learn from experts in the field.
But what really went down during this eventful week? Here are 12 phenomenal highlights of StartUp Bahrain Week that we decided to share with you:
- Who knew that the Gaming industry in Bahrain is gaining traction? INFINITEWARE organized Bahrain’s first GCC Game Conference and it featured several game developers from around the region including Tariq Mukhttar, Mohammed Alarkobi, Ameen Altajer, Saba Saleem, Layla Albabtain, and more! The conference was the first event of StartUp Bahrain Week and was held on 3rd March at Bahrain Polytechnic.
- On 4th – 8th March, CH9 and YoStartups held My Startup Bootcamp at CH9’s headquarters in Amwaj, where young startups went through intensive sessions on what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. The participants were exposed to different methodologies and had to work on identifying their problems and solutions, as well as develop their business plans and pitching skills, before finally presenting it on the second and final day of the bootcamp. The top six startups selected are as follows: Alreem Alnoaimi, Hamad Fouad, Sajah Khonji, Hasan Al Sharif, and Hadil Mansour.
- As always Rowad Talk featured some really cool entrepreneurs: the co-founder of Anghami, Elie Habib, treated audiences to a rare talk which was moderated by Walid Mansour, Partner and Chief Investment Officer of MEVP. The honest talk explored the challenges and learnings throughout Elie’s journey in launching and developing Anghami. Rowad Talk was held on 4th March at Alto, Downtown Rotana Hotel.
- Follow The Leaders, an international conference by THINKERS & DOERS, was an incredible success, where it brought together more than 400 participants. The conference was under the theme “Boosting the startup ecosystem in Bahrain: a hub for entrepreneurs and investors” and was held on 6th March at the Heritage Houses in Muharraq, with the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture acting as a focal point. Some of the awesome speakers included Alexandre Zapolsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Linagora, Mona Ataya, Founder and CEO of MumzWorld (UAE), Walid Faza, Partner and Investment Principal at Wamda Capital (UAE), Christian Kamayou, CEO of MyAfricanStartup, and a lot more!
- Startup MGZN, in collaboration with C5 Accelerate, hosted an insightful Startup Evenings with Ben Butler, Principal Business Development, Cloud Innovation Centers & Accelerators at AWS Worldwide Public Sector. During the evening, Ben discussed the culture of innovation within Amazon and how entrepreneurs can use AWS to build and scale up their startups. Startup Evenings was held on 6th March, at the ARCAPITA building in Bahrain Bay.
- C5 Accelerate hosted their second Policy Hack with H.E Rasheed Mohamed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain on 6th March, at C5’s Office in Fakhro Tower. The session discussed how technological innovation in finance combined with effective regulation and supervision can expand the scope, scale, and reach of financial services.
- Over 50 local and regional startups exhibited at unbound Bahrain which was held on 7th – 8th March at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC). These startups include: Careem, WNNA, Dawsat, lululittle, Widebot, Univize, Baseetah, Alrawi, Cambassy, DailyMealz, Adawati, and so much more!
- The fun doesn’t end there, because participants at unbound were able to take a Ferrari for a test drive on the BIC’s famed Formula 1 track!
- Bahrain-based startup Inagrab, founded by Hussain Haji and Mustafa Marhama, won the grand prize of $25,000 from Tamkeen at FACE-OFF ON THE TRACK pitching competition (scale-up stage) organized by C5 Accelerate and Brinc and held at unbound Bahrain. The runner-up was Alrawi which also received $10,000 from Tamkeen.
- Egyptian-based startup Widebot also won the grand prize of $25,000 from Tamkeen at FACE-OFF ON THE TRACK pitching competition (seed stage) organized by C5 Accelerate and Brinc and held at unbound Bahrain. The runner-up of the seed stage was RafiQ which also received $10,000 from Tamkeen.
- Zain Bahrain hosted a special panel discussion called “Female Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Bahrain” to commemorate and celebrate the International Women’s Day. The panel featured successful female Bahraini entrepreneurs including Lana Al-Attar, Founder and CEO of Gud Juju, Saba Al Saleem, Founder and CEO of The Stories Studio, Dr. Sana Farid, Co-Founder of Munfarid Consulting, Hala Suleiman, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Alrawi, and Wafa Al-Obaidat, CEO and Creative Director of Obai and Hill.
- American Express and Angel Hack hosted HACK @ THE TRACK where participants had to come up with an innovative payment solution within 24 hours. The hackathon took place at unbound Bahrain on 7th – 8th March. The winners were: 2nd runner-up Avaro who won $5,000, while the 1st runner-up Stipeno won $10,000, and finally first place went to PaySync who won the grand prize of $20,000.
- StartUp Bahrain Week included local, regional AND international speakers that travelled all the way to Bahrain to share their experiences and entrepreneurial wisdom with us. Some of these speakers include Benjamin Ampen, Head of Revenue, Middle-East & North Africa at Twitter, Nada Alawi Founder & Creative Director at Annada, Fadhi Ghandour Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, Hasan Haider, Partner, 500 Startups, and more!
StartUp Bahrain Week is, indeed, so far one of the greatest weeks of events that celebrates entrepreneurship and startups in Bahrain.
But don’t worry! The fun doesn’t end here, StartUp Bahrain Week is definitely coming back next year, and we’ve got some pretty EXCITING events coming up for you in the next couple of months. So make sure you check out our events page and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to be up to date with our upcoming AWESOME events.