Technology Week Pavilion, Bahrain (2017)

Strengthening the community means growing its numbers to bring in new knowledge, expertise, and perspectives. Startup events are an effective platform to attract new organisations into the community, and 2017 was an active year in this regard.

The Kingdom hosted some of its largest tech events to date, while Bahrain EDB, Tamkeen, the nation’s incubators, and startups themselves embarked on a tour of events to promote Bahrain as the GCC’s premier startup destination.

Of all the events, the Technology Week Pavilion, held in October over four days in collaboration with Bahrain EDB, Tamkeen, StartUp Bahrain, and Amazon Web Services, was a highlight. A wide variety of technology, innovation and startup-themed events took place during the week, including StartUp Bahrain’s ‘Face-Off On the Bay’ competition, organised by Brinc and C5 Accelerate. Here, entrepreneurs were tasked with pitching their tech or tech-enabled startup to a prominent panel of judges and a live audience of industry influencers, for the chance to win a share of US$ 75,000, with the first place winner landing US$ 50,000 in funding. Alongside the competition, attendees had the opportunity to grow their expertise through a schedule of workshops, keynotes, and panel discussions hosted by leading names in the tech space.

Many more events brought the community together towards the same goal. For example, the region-wide MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, supported by Tamkeen, was held at the end of April to celebrate the region’s standout enterprises.

In addition to that, Tamkeen’s Mashroo3i Business Plan Competition presented the youth of Bahrain an opportunity to understand business planning and the path towards entrepreneurship. While the Bahrain Development Bank’s Rowad workshops provided a platform for entrepreneurs to test ideas, develop a business plan, and build the soft skills they need to succeed.

Moreover, at November’s Web Summit in Lisbon, Bahrain was one of only two GCC representatives. And during the same month, the Tenmou MENA Angel Investors Summit, hosted in Bahrain, saw more than 40 MENA startups pitch their ideas to earn funding.

Then, December’s RiseUp Summit in Cairo and the Seedstars MENA Bahrain event connected MENA entrepreneurs with funding and growth partners from across the world.

A calendar of roadshows also saw Bahrain EDB and the wider startup community join together to further strengthen the ecosystem. That included Arab Net in Riyadh, Dubai’s STEP Conference, and the RISE Conference in Hong Kong.

StartUp Team in Action