Bahrain is known to have one of the most attractive economies, fastest-growing startup ecosystems, and friendliest business environments in the region. That encourages many startups to choose Bahrain as their suitable launch pad, including PayTabs, Skiplino, and Baqala. But a big part of growing a healthy startup ecosystem involves attracting startups from abroad alongside developing homegrown ones.

Which leads us to this burning question amongst local players and investors, “shouldn’t we focus on growing local startups rather than attracting ones from abroad”?

Local startups are unique, compared to local small to medium businesses, they give an active outpost to the youth to learn and grow, inspires them to one day launch their own venture, and nurtures the professional skill set of the future amongst individuals.

If local startups and entrepreneurs are already doing well for Bahrain and encouraging others to launch, reflecting strongly on Bahrain’s strong and growing ecosystem. Why should Bahrain emphasize on attracting startups into the country? Startup MGZN explores possible three reasons (or justifications) to answer that question.   

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  1. Healthy competition leads to excellence. There’s nothing more challenging for a business than having to compete with others in a market that allows healthy competition. Having a stronger competition, especially against those who are working in the same industry as yours or perhaps even doing the same thing you’re doing is not a bad thing. It validates your idea even more (investors like that), it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and aim higher, and more very importantly, it forces differentiation through innovation (investors like that a lot). Being in Bahrain makes local startups used to working in a small market with less competition, why not turn up the heat a little?
  2. Be humble, learn from others, and build alliances. No one disagrees, Bahrain has a small talent pool of creatives, developers, and those with the right skill-sets that today’s startups need. Startups may have better ideas on solving for the same hoops the both of you go through or they may have better ideas on executing overlapping elements of both your ideas. Why not learn from that? Rubbing shoulders with the right people is essential, you can learn a ton from those experiences. But to rub shoulders with others, you first need shoulders, a good number of shoulders. What a better than doing that than attracting the best, most talented, most skilled, and passionate individuals and teams from abroad into Bahrain? Competition is great, but growing a healthy environment that allows collaboration, sharing of ideas, and resources are way better. Innovation doesn’t happen in isolation, it’s a collaborative effort.
  3. It gets investors excited, that’s more money for you. When you increase the pool of startups, investors pay attention. Investors are great at seeking and matching patterns. When there’s a good amount of activity happening around investors in the ecosystem, their FOMO (fear of missing out) starts to kick in, and guess who is that great for? You, the startup. Investors want to be the first to jump on the next big opportunity, before another investor takes notice, though that’s not always the case. A thriving ecosystem can’t grow fast organically, it takes time. One solution is to inject some growth into it by attracting startups from abroad.

There are obviously many more reasons, which we will explore in future articles. The key takeaway here is that there’s also, alongside the above, a huge economic incentive for Bahrain to grow its startup ecosystem in the long run.

Know a great startup that can come and set up shop in Bahrain? Tell them to visit and find out more on Startup Bahrain, it’s a click away.

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