Enterprise Agility Awards 2019 named Bahrain the winner of the “Digital Startup Hub of the Year” award which recognises the highly active community of entrepreneurs across the Middle East.
The Kingdom was awarded the honour for StartUp Bahrain – a community led initiative powered by the Bahrain Economic Development Board to boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem by bringing together startups, corporates, investors, incubators, educational institutions and the government. This award recognises Bahrain’s fast-growing, highly-connected and pro-business hub with technology at its heart – enabling startups to test, innovate and scale quickly.
The initiative seeks to help and promote startups in every sector and at every stage, with a key focus on community, incubators, funding, education, corporates and policy & regulation. Considerable efforts have been made in each pillar to make Bahrain an ideal location for startup or scale companies not only regionally but also globally.
Commenting on the award, Pakiza Abdulrahman, Manager – Business Development for Startups at the Economic Development Board said: “StartUp Bahrain plays an indispensable role in growing our ecosystem, providing innovative startups with the crucial support they need to flourish. The initiative has proven to be a significant factor in what makes Bahrain such an attractive proposition to new firms seeking to scale across the US$1.5 trillion Gulf market. This award is well deserved by all the people who have worked so hard to make StartUp Bahrain the undeniable success it is today.”
Bahrain offers the ideal launchpad for startups looking to enter the region, offering up to 30-40% lower operating cost environment compared to neighbouring countries according to KPMG’s cost of doing business report. This, combined with highly skilled local workforce, prime geographical location and modern soft infrastructure, provide the perfect environment that allows startups to innovate and quickly grow.
Bahrain has long recognised the value of startups in driving economic diversification and creating job opportunities and its ‘Team Bahrain’ approach is supporting a flourishing startup ecosystem. The country provides a dynamic regulatory environment for global investors and entrepreneurs, including reforms such as the bankruptcy law, data protection laws, and 100 per cent foreign ownership in the majority of sectors. The Kingdom is a regional leader in digital infrastructure – as well as being one of the first countries in the world to roll out nationwide commercial 5G, 2019 marked the launch of the AWS Cloud Region in Bahrain – the first in MENA.