Opening a business is certainly difficult, not impossible. Promoting the business and being in front of the right people can be a big challenge for most!
There has been an incredible effort by Bahraini corporates to empower entrepreneurs and startups within Bahrain. Amongst those, most prominently, Zain Bahrain has been an inspiration in leading the way with giving back to the community.
Here’s everything you need to know:
An inspiring initiative by Zain Bahrain that promotes the entrepreneurial spirit in Bahrain is #5ameesnaZain, a project that translates to “our Thursdays are Zain”. We spoke to Ghazi Radi, Corporate Events Manager at Zain and he let us in a few interesting insights on this wonderful project.
The initiative is hosted at the company’s headquarters every week. It serves as a weekly showcase of the brilliant ideas of local startups through a platform before Zain’s employees and members of the community.
Zain also hosts small businesses that are eager to sell their goods before large audiences at special bazaars and bake sales held during special occasions like Eid and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Zain Bahrain has recently hosted food trucks by Villa Mamas, Noodle Wok, and Sandwich Guys at its car park offering delicious food to its staff and neighboring companies. One small business, Wheelys Café, is permanently based in their headquarters now.
According to Ghazi, besides #5ameesnaZain, Zain provides mentoring and support to many young entrepreneurs through the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan-Arab Region. “In partnership with Community Jameel, a social enterprise organization that operates a wide range of initiatives to promote positive society and economic sustainability, Zain is one of the sponsors of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab startup Competition, which was held in Bahrain this year, and where one of the semi-finalists was in fact a Zain Bahrain employee,” Ghazi added.
When asked about the reason behind Zain’s contribution and support towards startups and SMEs in Bahrain, Ghazi mentioned that supporting entrepreneurs is very much in line with Zain’s overarching corporate values as a group, which are build around three themes: Radiance, Heart, and Belonging. “Radiance is about leading the way with imagination and vision, and bringing joy, color and richness to life; Heart is about living life with courage and engaging one’s spirit and touching on emotions; and Belonging is about bringing fellowship and community to all, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries,” he said.
Zain’s contribution towards the startup ecosystem in Bahrain is also in line with their corporate sustainability and social responsibility strategy which focuses on three core pillars: Innovation, Thought Leadership and Youth Empowerment.
Everyone should take part in shaping Bahrain’s startup ecosystem. Ghazi states that large companies should initiate policies that encourage buying local whenever possible and should only look to suppliers abroad when there are no local options available. Furthermore, they can institute programs to raise the standards of local suppliers. This would be a mutually beneficial partnership which would help small local business grow and help larger companies create new sources of supply for key requirements.