Startup MGZN

Here are 18 awesome highlights Bahrain went through in 2017

2017 was an incredibly prosperous year for Bahrain. Lots of events happened in the Kingdom, and let’s not forget the notable accomplishments Bahrain has achieved within just one year.

How about we go down memory lane one last time to have a look back at 2017 and see what our country has undergone in just a year?  

  1. Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced their plans to open three of their data centers here in Bahrain. By 2019, AWS will be opening their infrastructure regional data centers and will consist of three Availability Zones. This would allow local business to run heavier workloads and serve end-users with lower latency.
  2. Bahrain Hosts Technology Week Pavilion (Datacenter) Startup Competition. EDB in collaboration with AWS hosted Bahrain’s Technology Week Pavilion. A week that was packed with workshops, panel discussions and talks on entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem in Bahrain. It allowed startups to showcase their ideas, and to participate in the pitch competition, FACE-OFF ON THE BAY which was organized by C5 Accelerate and Brinc.
  3. MITEF had it’s 10th Arab Startup competition AND Enterprise Forum Pan Arab here in Bahrain. The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition is an annual competition that aims to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. Startups from all over the Middle East participate in this competition where they receive training, mentorship and guidance on their startup ideas. On the other hand, the MIT Enterprise Forum event was organized by EDB along with Investcorp, and it hosted prominent local and international speakers that discussed topics on fintech, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing and more.
  4. Bahrain is ranked as the top-performing country in the ICT field. The ICT Development Index (IDI) for 2017 ranked Bahrain as the top-performing country in the Middle East, and 31st globally. According to the report, Bahrain scored the highest growth of proportion of internet users in the country, in addition to the number of households that has access to the internet.
  5. Bahrain has been ranked top destination for expatriates. According to Expat Insider 2017, Survey Report Nine in 10 expats said they were happy here in Bahrain. The country has been given high marks by its expats as a place to work, rais a family and for making foreigners feel welcome.
  6. Bahrain is chosen to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2019. At a high-profile event held at the United Nations headquarters, Bahrain was named host country for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2019. This further confirms the country’s position as a business-friendly nation and an international leader in the field of entrepreneurship and business innovation.
  7. Tourism projects in Bahrain have been booming! EDB recently revealed investment in Bahrain’s tourism infrastructure reached over US $13 billion. The investment covers 14 projects from the private and public sector with the aim of boosting the growth in the tourism and leisure sector in Bahrain.
  8. Seedstars hosts its GCC Competition AND MENA Summit here in Bahrain. It’s not the first time that Seedstars comes to Bahrain, in fact, it’s their third time and this time, they didn’t just host their GCC competition here in Bahrain, but they also had their MENA Summit here.
  9. Tamkeen announced a new strategy for the next three years. The strategy was announced during Tamkeen’s annual forum where they highlighted the key milestones achieved during the 2015-2017 strategy cycle, in addition to outlining their new goals and aims for the 2018-2020 strategy.
  10. The world’s first Global FinTech Consortium in Bahrain was launched. Three leading banks in Bahrain, Al Baraka Banking Group, Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) together launched ALGO, the world’s first Global FinTech Consortium of Islamic Banks.
  11. Bahrain Economic Development Board and FinTech Consortium launched the largest dedicated FinTech hub in the Middle East and Africa. The new hub Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB) aims to further the development and acceleration of FinTech firms in Bahrain as well as the interaction between investors, entrepreneurs, government bodies and financial institutions.
  12. Bahrain signed trade agreements valued at $10 billion in the fields of economy, trade, industry, oil and aviation. The MoUs signed included Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), Alba and Bechtel, Alba and General Electric, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, and the Small Business Administration, Gulf Air and General Electric.  
  13. The Bahrain Economic Development Board partners up with FinTech company Almas Nexus. The EDB and Almax Nexus will be working together on upcoming FinTech projects.
  14. New breaking achievement for Bahrain’s non-oil sector. According to the Bahrain Economic Development Board’s economic Quarterly, growth in the non-oil sector of Bahrain’s economy reached an annual pace of 4.7% in the first half of 2017, ahead of the 4.0% non-oil growth that was recorded back in 2016.
  15. Tamkeen Bahrain hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Week which was a huge success. It was a week packed with informative sessions on entrepreneurship, technology, design and more. The GEW had local, regional and international speakers that shared their entrepreneurial journey with the audience.
  16. The Bahrain Entrepreneurship Award was a  blast and awarded some of the best entrepreneurs in Bahrain. The third edition of the program was organized by Tamkeen and held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board. The ceremony celebrates and honors the amazing achievements of entrepreneurs in Bahrain. Some of the winners include Aisha Abdulmalek, owner of Aisha Jewels, a Bahraini jewelry design company that won Micro-Enterprise of the Year. There’s also Fasial Khalifeh, owner of Solar One that won Start-Up of the Year, and Mohammed Abdulaal owner of All Food for Food Stuff that won SME of the Year.
  17. Bahraini-based booking startup receives funding from Saudi VC, Raed Ventures and 500 Startups. Malaeb, a mobile app for football fans that helps find and book football fields around Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi recently received funding. With this new investment, Malaeb is planning on meeting two of their KPIs: Increasing the number of avenues on the app and increase the number of users.
  18. The Manama Entrepreneurship Week was held back in October. The event was held in partnership with Tamkeen, where they organized a week packed with awesome sessions including seminars, workshops and conferences to promote and nurture entrepreneurship in Bahrain.

This year was surely a productive and eventful one, and we just can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us. And what about you? What do you have planned for 2018?

Bayan Al-A'abed

Bayan is a writer for Startup MGZN