Startup MGZN

Tamkeen just announced a new strategy for the next three years. What’s in it for you? Here’s everything you need to know.

Today is Tamkeen’s big day, it announced its new 2018 – 2020 strategy in its Annual Consultation Forum, hosted at The Ritz Carlton Bahrain. The event was attended by more than 500 participants representing the different economic sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Established in 2006 as a government organization, Tamkeen is one of the cornerstones of Bahrain’s labour market reform initiative, with a vision to develop the national economy. This is done through supporting Bahraini citizens to become employees of choice and empowering the private sector, therefore turning it into a key driver of sustainable economic development.

“This is one of the most important events of the year for Tamkeen”, H.E. Sh. Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa reiterated during his opening speech. “This event is essential in defining Tamkeen’s strategy for the upcoming period, and that is done through the process of hearing your feedback and input.”

It is one of Tamkeen’s core values to listen to the feedback and insight of its stakeholders, partners, and beneficiaries to fulfil its mandate as an organization. Through our feedback, the organization has been able to refine its strategy throughout the years.

“It is important to repeat that Tamkeen’s role is to empower you as an individual or enterprise. But your role is to do the hard work, it needs to come from the individual. Through this vision, we have delivered tremendous support in the past years, supporting up to 30 to 40% of  Bahraini commercial registrations who benefited from Tamkeen’s support programs”, Tamkeen’s Chairman continues in his opening speech.

Tamkeen’s previous strategy, in facts and figures.

During this period of economic change, Tamkeen will proactively nurture the development of enterprises, but let’s step back a little. What was Tamkeen’s previous strategy and how did it look like?

  • 2007 to 2009: Tamkeen’s strategy was focused on awareness. Focused on introducing itself to a market that needed to learn and better understand Tamkeen’s role and mandate through its different programs.
  • 2010 to 2014: Tamkeen’s strategy in this period was focused on outreach, how to better reach the community, reach as many people as possible, and cater to their many needs.
  • 2015 to 2017: Tamkeen focused on impact, revising its programs to cater new needs, demands, and requirements of the market. One of the most notable changes during this strategy was the revision of the financing subsidy through one of its programs from 80% to 50%, more accurately, revising the mechanism where which a subsidy of 80% could be reached for enterprises.

“We always aim to experiment, measure and evaluate. We aim to have most of our changes be positive, that support our internal operations as well as the impact we will have on our partners. We have only changed the way the support reaches up to 80%, which still remains. That is, through the previous strategy. The companies who received support three years ago are now in line to be evaluated for more subsidy as planned in the past. One may think that our support ends at funding, and that is not accurate”, Qusay Al-Arrayedh answers a question on the subsidy changes from the past strategies.

Let’s get down to the numbers, what has Tamkeen been able to achieve since its launch, eleven years ago?

First and foremost, Tamkeen has pumped over 340 million Bahraini Dinars throughout its programs into the economy with the mandate of stimulating and empowering individuals and entities in the private sector.

Several pillar strategy.

Throughout its previous strategy (2015 to 2017), Tamkeen built its vision and operations on several pillars:

  1. Customer centricity, being customer focused, more than it has before.
    1. With over 70,000 partners and stakeholders benefited from Tamkeen’s programs throughout this period.
    2. Over 2,500 workshops and training initiatives took place.
  2. Improving the quality of its programs and processes.
  3. Delivering results and making an impact.
    1. Over 40,000 Bahraini benefitted from Tamkeen’s programs during this period.
    2. Over 1,000 jobs created throughout this period.

The facts and figures:

  • Tamkeen’s customized grant solutions grew over threefold.
  • New training solutions allowed the addition of 11 million Bahraini Dinars into the training platforms that Tamkeen operates.
  • Reward mechanisms of over 15 million Bahraini Dinars to encourage Bahraini employment.
  • Since its establishment, Tamkeen served more than 165 thousand individuals and enterprises.
  • Tamkeen launched more than 210 initiatives in different fields, of which 145 serving individuals and 65 serving enterprises.

Tamkeen’s support from 2015 to 2017 had a measurable impact on Bahrain’s economy.

  • Tamkeen served over 10% of active businesses in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
  • Tamkeen saw a 17% increase in the average wages under the training and wage support solutions and programs.
  • Over 28% of the Bahraini workforce served through Tamkeen’s training initiatives.
  • 35% of the Bahraini women in the workforce served under Tamkeen’s training initiatives. This is great news as it highlights the importance and impact of the need to encourage more female participation in the workforce and private sector. We have recently highlighted some of the 100 most notable Bahraini women for the Bahraini Women’s Day.
  • Additional BD 11+ million has been used to support human capital development, serving 40,000 Bahrainis.
  • 7% increase in Bahrainis employed by the private sector.
  • Tamkeen contributed to the 21% increase in the total number of CRs in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

For individuals:

  • Tamkeen has supported more than 110,000 citizens, providing 145 individual empowerment initiatives.
  • Tamkeen contributed to training and capacity development programmes for around 15,000 Bahrainis in different areas of specialization.
  • Tamkeen provided 373 professional certifications in 40 areas of specialization, pumping more than BD 18 million as part of investments in the Professional Certifications Scheme.
  • Tamkeen created more than 8,000 jobs through its Employment Support programmes.
  • During the last cycle 2015-2017, Tamkeen supported around 40,000 Bahraini youths through its various initiatives aimed at developing skills and capabilities of youth as well as creating opportunities to help them build their future. Some of these programs include Mashroo3i, A9eel, in addition to their various workshops held across the country. 
  • 35% of Bahraini women in the workforce served under Tamkeen’s training initiatives during the 2015 – 2017 cycle.

Through the private sector:

  • Tamkeen has launched 65 initiatives to support more than 45,000 private sector enterprises.
  • An increase of 500% in the financing cap, elevating the portfolio amount to BD 690 million.
  • Tamweel Plus has reached a portfolio of BD 170 million in partnership with 6 local banks. This program aims to finance businesses and enterprises with amounts exceeding one million Bahraini Dinars.
  • Tamkeen has expanded its segment to include a category for Mega Startups, for wider reach and development of best-fit solutions for enterprises.
  • Tamkeen has served more than 45 thousand businesses equivalent to 55% of the active commercial registration in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
  • Eight enterprises have so far benefited from Tamkeen’s investment support program creating more than 200 jobs.
  • Mohasaba Scheme has been added to the grants program as part of a Business Development Program. The scheme aims to support start-ups in establishing their accounting system as well as support scale up and mature enterprises with 50% support rate on auditing services.

So, what challenges and opportunities presented themselves throughout the past strategy?

Shifting global and national trends present various economic opportunities and challenges for businesses in Bahrain. We are all aware of those changes, and many of us have started to experience those challenges and take action on any opportunities available.

New opportunities:

  • There’s a growing need to focus on startups throughout the market.
  • Technological progress and digitization can no longer be an option. It is a need to build a future workforce and enterprises that are enabled and ready for the future.
  • Empowering more developed infrastructure projects.
  • Empower and develop regulatory reform for a better business climate.

New challenges:

  • Current subsidy costs.
  • Slow economic growth within Bahrain.
  • The introduction of different kinds of taxation.
  • The identification and locating of qualified talent.

In light of these market changes, businesses and individuals require more solutions that Tamkeen has identified:

  • Diversification of businesses and products.
  • New source of capital.
  • Technological modernization.
  • Creativity and innovation.
  • Market intelligence and advisory.
  • Efficient business models.
  • Energy efficiency and renewables.
  • Access to new or bigger markets.

Tamkeen’s role is to support the private sector through changing economic realities.

Tamkeen’s new chapter.

Tamkeen’s new strategy moving forward, from 2018 to 2020, it’s aiming to focus on the idea of transforming through:

  • Diversifying its offerings.
    • Furthering economic diversification underpinned by productivity and innovation.
    • Introducing new products and services to better cater to working market reach.
  • Accelerating delivery of its operations and processes.
    • Enable customers to swiftly respond to new economic realities.
    • Faster service delivery to maximize value gained.
  • Sustaining impact.
    • Foster business models and new capital that recognize the evolving economic realities.
    • Devise solutions that will remain relevant in tomorrow’s economy.

The above pillars demand new solutions, here’s what Tamkeen has planned for this upcoming strategy.

  • Investment
      1. Investment in foundations of the ecosystem.
        1. The creating or developing of an entrepreneurship hub.
        2. The empowering of niche incubators.
      2. Diversifying the funding mechanisms.
        1. The building and empowering of angel investment networks and crowdfunding.
        2. The supporting for IPOs.
  • Innovation
    1. Supporting new products and services from enterprises.
      1. Ideation and prototype funding.
      2. Intellectual property support.

One of the questions during the press conference was around funding, what it aims to target and how much. “We will scale our funding support to individuals and enterprises with a lot more focus throughout this new strategy”, Dr. Ebrahim adds to this discussion.

“We are looking into new elements to be added to our funding programs. The size of funding will continue to be increased, however, more importantly, new funding options will be explored and added into the new strategy”, Dr. Ahmed Janahi adds.

“We are going to be channeling our support moving forward. We need to be channeling the right kind of support to the targets in the market. We are open to supporting as much support as the private sector requires. We are adapting to the requirements, we need to make sure that they are in the areas required to the private sector”, Dr. Nasser Al-Qaedi states.

“If you have the projects, we have the money. Tamkeen requires successful projects from the private sector”, Dr. Ebrahim Janahi concludes the discussion on funding.

What else?

  • Marketing Information
      1. Sharing market insights.
        1. Development of employability skills portal.
        2. Publication of Tamkeen student impact assessments.
  • Market Expansion
      1. Export development and expansion support.
        1. Financing for export development.
        2. Mergers and acquisitions.
      2. Franchise support.
        1. Funding locally grown franchises.
        2. Introducing franchising models.
  • Productivity
      1. Initiating a productivity movement.
  • Sustainability

Tamkeen aims to expand and increase its impact throughout its new strategy through grants, financing, advisory, investment, and knowledge sharing. Through doing that, Tamkeen’s approach in 2018 through 2020 also requires an evolution to the way they currently operate, with a bigger focus on:

  • Scaling up its training support towards the private sector.

“Be assured, Tamkeen has provided a lot of support for the Bahraini citizen when it comes to training and education, over $2 billion was injected into the Bahraini economy through Tamkeen as it aims to be a key driver to empower and stimulate the private sector.”, Dr. Ebrahim Janahi, Tamkeen’s Chief Executive reiterates during the event’s press conference.

“Tamkeen’s role is to empower the Bahraini citizen by providing the training and the education to make him or her the preferred option for employment in different sectors in the private sector. Unemployment is the focus of other government entities in Bahrain.”

  • Building on new partnerships and market collaborations for new solutions.
  • Integrating new technologies into Tamkeen’s systems and processes.
  • Diversifying Tamkeen’s solutions to meet changing customer needs.

Tamkeen’s refined target audience.

Recognizing and identifying the right target audience is one thing, but continuing to refine the target is what Tamkeen is focusing on throughout its new strategy. It’s all about creating more flexibility and inclusiveness.

  • The youth.
      1. Support the skills and behaviors to match the labour market requirements and needs.
        1. This includes students in school.
        2. Along with students in higher education.
  • The jobseekers.
      1. Increasing the occupational opportunities and maximizing employment potential.
        1. Focusing on those having a secondary certificate or lower.
        2. Along with fresh graduates from university.
        3. And finally, experienced job seekers.
  • The employees.
    1. Improve capabilities and encouraging their professional growth.
      1. Including those who are self-employed.
      2. And those are who currently employed.

“We anticipate and hope that students think of pursuing entrepreneurship. We would like to plant the idea of entrepreneurship early. There are specialized programs in the Bahraini educational institutions that help students turn an idea from an idea to a business. Tamkeen’s role is to empower that”, Dr. Ebrahim Janahi tells the press during the press conference.

“Going forward, we are going to be scaling up our support for the Bahraini development and empowerment. To ensure that we are aligning our training solutions with the international economy. We are willing to partner with many companies in the private sector to scale up our training solutions”, Dr. Nasser Qaedi adds.

What about enterprises? What refined targets have Tamkeen put in place for enterprises rather than individuals? Well, for starters, there’s a good focus on startups.

  1. Startups
    1. Fostering entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative businesses:
      1. This includes pre-startups (seed stage?).
      2. Established startups.
      3. Mega-startups.
    2. Scale-ups
      1. Supporting dynamism and diversification:
        1. Local franchises.
        2. Export ready businesses.
    3. Maturity
      1. Sustained success underpinned by productivity:
        1. Large corporations.
        2. Export promotion.

In short.

Tamkeen’s new strategy really aims to integrate your needs as an individual and enterprise to with what they can offer you through their programs.

Technology is one of the driving forces behind the new strategy. Through focusing more on technology, Tamkeen aims to digitize, both its services and products along with its offerings to enterprises and individuals who are looking into digital needs.

But what are goals if they are not underpinned by strong foundations. Tamkeen’s new strategy aims to underpin its goals with better customer service, increased productivity, and uplifting the quality of their services.

“We recently got ISO 9001 certified, it’s a big achievement for Tamkeen, this helps Tamkeen be recognized as using best practices with global and international operational practices”, Dr. Ebrahim Janahi tells us.

What’s the end game though through this strategy? What’s in it for the private sector in Bahrain? Tamkeen aims to develop the value chain capture points, increase sustainability in business models, and developing the effectiveness and efficiency in the market.

We’d like to end with a quote from the opening speech by H.E. Sh. Mohammed bin Essa, saying “the world changes every day, posing new challenges on us and around us, we aim to listen to you, to assist us in navigating what’s upcoming. The economy of Bahrain is changing, we’re in what we call the post-oil economy, this will pose challenges and opportunities enterprises such as yourselves. This, of course, allows us to better look into our support programmes and fine tune the way we fulfill our mandate and responsibilities towards you as individuals and enterprises”.

The world is changing, and Tamkeen is doing the same. Will you?

Bader Kamal