The Labour Fund (Tamkeen) announced the launch of a new series of entrepreneurship training programs under the name “StartUp Bahrain Pitch”, that focus on the fundamentals of fundraising and pitching to investors with the aim of empowering Bahraini entrepreneurs to secure the funds required to grow their startups. These programs are the result of a Team Bahrain collaboration that includes public and private sector ecosystem champions such as: the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Bahrain Development Bank (BDB), Bahrain Entrepreneurship Organization, and StartUp Bahrain alongside key players from the private sector.
The programs were designed in collaboration with the partners to support high potential Bahraini startups that have a strong potential for growth and expansion. Given the importance of fundraising to facilitate growth for startups, the program will begin with a phase that focuses on this topic through three courses: Investment Readiness Course, What Angel Investors Learn Before They Invest Course, and Qualified Angel Investment Certification. The programs will be delivered in two iterations that target early stage and growth stage startups. After the training, the shortlisted participants will be hosted in a pitching event where they will pitch their businesses to a panel of investors for the potential to raise capital and win cash prizes. The program aims to train 80 startups per year and host pitch events for 32 startups to get a chance to raise funding. The training courses will be delivered in collaboration with the World Business Angel Investment Forum.
Commenting on this initiative, Ms. Maha Mofeez, Acting Chief Executive of the Labour Fund (Tamkeen) emphasized the importance of startups for the economy and Tamkeen’s ongoing support to ensure their sustainability and productivity. She stated: “Startups are catalysts for growth in any economy, they provide employment opportunities, drive innovation and advance technology. Fostering a startup ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs and helps startups thrive and grow is a goal that we are committed to.”
She added: “Through this program we are tackling one of the main challenges facing startups which is fundraising. Fundraising is crucial for their growth and expansion potential therefore we developed a program that will equip Bahraini entrepreneurs with the tools and skills required to secure funding for their businesses through a series of training programs and pitching events that put them in front of serious real-world investors who can add value to their companies both through funding and sharing knowledge and experience”
From her side, Mrs. Dalal Al Qais, CEO of Bahrain Development Bank said: “Such joint initiatives that come within the Team Bahrain collaboration encourage innovation and enhance the capabilities of entrepreneurs to start their business that ultimately supports in developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The program offers great opportunities to the participants and to the supporting institutions to be connected to an effective network that facilitates investment in startups and transforms the ideas of entrepreneurs into profitable projects. This reflects one of the important aspects and programs that Bahrain Development Bank is committed to support in partnership with other key stakeholder and supporting institutions, particularly the Economic Development Board, the Labor Fund “Tamkeen”, StartUp Bahrain & Bahrain Entrepreneurship Organization”.
Al Qais explained that investment and access to finance are key challenges to startups and Bahraini entrepreneurs, and therefore we are optimistic with the development of such initiative we can provide entrepreneurs with the necessary skills that will support them throughout the different stages of the business cycle increasing their chances to gain access to finance and investment opportunities.
Commenting on this, Nada Alsaeed, Executive Director of Strategy & Research at Bahrain EDB said: “Our skilled and tech-savvy workforce has been a major driver for innovative homegrown startups in Bahrain, and with continued initiatives like these, we will be able to witness even more growth in the Bahraini startup ecosystem, which will encourage sustainable economic development and create more job opportunities in the Kingdom.”
From her end, Mrs. Feryal Abdullah Nass, Founder and Chairwomen of the Bahrain Entrepreneurs Organization, stressed the organization’s keenness on empowering Bahraini entrepreneurs and enabling them to scale their businesses. She stated: “We are excited to collaborate with Tamkeen on this initiative which will equip entrepreneurs with the tools and skills they require to raise funding for their business ventures. Fundraising is vital for accelerating the growth and success of good business ideas and I look forward to seeing the unique concepts that graduate from this program”
Tamkeen will execute this program through “Startup Bahrain”, a platform that will serve startups and entrepreneurs locally, to build a strong network for the ecosystem, identify and solve the ecosystem challenges and connect startups with the suitable Tamkeen programs.
Bahraini entrepreneurs and startup founders who have a scalable business, an existing customer base and valid CRs are encouraged to apply for this program to reap the benefits of training with experts and access viable funding opportunities.