Startup Weekend is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited to attend this year! Why you may ask? Because this year is a special one since it’ll be the first time we have a sector-focused Startup Weekend, and the focus will be on FinTech! This year’s Startup Weekend is held under the Patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), and in strategic partnership with National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), StartUp Bahrain, Tamkeen and Bahrain FinTech Bay.
What is Startup Weekend?
In case you’ve been out of tune with the startup ecosystem, Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event which focuses on building a prototype for a potential business and is one of the vital events of the year. It’s the ideal event for all you FinTech enthusiasts that have a fantastic idea that you want to test out.
Startup Weekend has always been focused on tech, but Bahrain FinTech Bay has decided to take it one step further and focus on FinTech, where FinTech enthusiasts will gather to develop potential businesses in the field.
Why FinTech, you may ask? FinTech is currently booming in Bahrain and the region, as the Central Bank of Bahrain has allowed Bahrain to become the first Arab country to issue a comprehensive regulatory framework on crypto-asset services and crypto-asset exchanges. In addition, the CBB has introduced a Regulatory Sandbox program, where Bahrain’s first shari’a-compliant cryptocurrency exchange graduated from, Rain. It’s the perfect opportunity to gather local talent to solve issues related to financial services in Bahrain.
What makes Startup Weekend stand out from other events is that you can come fresh with energy and full of ideas. It’s open to anyone, regardless of their age or educational background. However, they are looking for talented designers, developers, and business-oriented individuals to participate since they are key to developing and building an idea-stage startup.
You don’t necessarily need to have a prototype and full business plan laid out, it’s actually best not to because you will be building on ideas during the 54-hour weekend event. You’ll be critiqued on your completed prototype of a minimum viable product (MVP) by the end of the event, so be prepared to accept constructive criticism!
Entrepreneurs keep coming back to Startup Weekend, and it’s because of the unforgettable experience they have. Some attend Startup Weekend with lower confidence but come out of the event with a new perspective and wider network. They move on to become speakers at local events within the community. Startup founders keep coming back because it’s the perfect opportunity to test the market, to receive feedback, and to check if it’s worth pursuing the idea further.
We’re happy to say that there have been 5-6 startups that have been formed out of Startup Weekend since 2011. These were participants who decided to pursue their idea and establish their own startups! One of those startups that won last year’s Startup Weekend is Supplify, a cloud-based platform that finds the best suppliers and streamlines the workflow between suppliers and vendors.
This year’s judges are well-known within the community and play an active role within the StartUp Bahrain ecosystem. Here are the judges for this year’s FinTech Startup Weekend:
- Yasmeen Al Sharaf: Head of FinTech & Innovation at the Central Bank of Bahrain.
- Pakiza Abdulrahman: Sector Head of Startups at the Bahrain Economic Development Board.
- Khalid Saad: Chief Executive Officer at Bahrain FinTech Bay.
- Yaser Alsharifi: Chief Strategy Officer at National Bank of Bahrain
Here’s an overview of what the winners of Startup Weekend will receive:
- 1st place: BHD 1,500/- & 3 months residency at Bahrain FinTech Bay
- 2nd place: BHD 1,000/- & 2 months residency at Bahrain FinTech Bay
- 3rd place: BHD 500/- & 1 month residency at Bahrain FinTech Bay
If that sounds exciting to you, make sure to register for the event here. You can purchase tickets at the door, but you will save more if you buy them online beforehand! Startup Weekend is taking place on November 21st – 24th from 6:30 pm onward, so make sure not to miss it! Click here for more information on Startup Weekend’s agenda.