By now, the private and public sector in Bahrain has come together to make it clear to the international community that the Kingdom means business. The country aspires to build itself a reputation of being a major startup hub in the Middle East and Africa while simultaneously serving as a hotbed for technological innovation.
Adding more to the projects that are already underway, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB)recently announced that it is clearing a “Superfund” worth $100 million to turn the Kingdom into an ideal destination for venture capitalists from MENA and beyond.
“Bahrain’s startup ecosystem is diverse and spans the Kingdom’s key sectors, including tourism, F&B, and industry. We are seeing particular growth in FinTech and digital startups, leveraging Bahrain’s strengths as the region’s most established financial services sector with highly advanced ICT infrastructure,” managing director of EDB, Simon Galpin, said.
And it’s not just Bahrain, other countries in the Middle East are also increasingly focusing on their startup ecosystems and technological innovation to drive economic growth. This essentially implies that the realization has sunk in the leadership of these countries that they cannot remain dependent on the oil sector for far too long amidst a fast-changing global dynamics.
According to Simon, startups have a pivotal role to play in accelerating economic growth and diversification. Other than that, having a healthy startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem also leads to a thriving job market and an intensive-driven encouraging environment for skill development, which in turn, further reduces unemployment.
The effort to diversify and focus on the startup sector has paid off well for Bahrain in particular.