Bahrain startup costs: the simple steps to setting up your business in the Kingdom


With entrepreneur-friendly policies, a growing pool of skilled talent and easy access to the $1.5 trillion Gulf market, Bahrain is the ideal location to set up a startup or a scaleup – and it couldn’t be easier to get going.

According to the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report, it takes just eight days to get off the ground in the Kingdom – much less than the regional average of 20 days. Here at Bahrain EDB, we’ve built a dedicated tool of three steps to set up operations in various sectors. Just click here to see how to get started on your journey. To make things even easier, we’ve pulled together details of each stage of the setup process and startup costs that are worth bearing in mind while setting up in Bahrain – and how we can help at every step of the way.

What does it cost to start a startup in Bahrain?

The Kingdom not only offers major benefits for startups in the shape of pro-entrepreneur policies, advanced hard and soft infrastructure and a thriving ecosystem, but also a cost of doing business that is 30% lower than other GCC countries. Rental rates for commercial property are considerably more affordable than nearby nations, while ICT and utility providers offer good value to business customers.

What’s more, Bahrain offers 100% foreign ownership in most industries, with no restrictions on repatriation of capital, profits and dividend income –

Various licenses and approvals are required to start up, but the process is simple and efficient with minimal costs, generally totalling less than USD$500 (BHD190 excluding initial capital requirements and physical office address fees) – we’ve outlined some of these below.

Additionally, the Kingdom’s Labour Fund, Tamkeen offers assistance to all active enterprises registered and licensed in Bahrain in the form of subsidies, grants and wage support. Click here to find out more.

What are the steps to starting a startup in Bahrain?

Getting up and running here is simple, and there are just three easy steps: preparing the required documents, obtaining initial licenses and receiving final approvals.

Use Bahrain EDB’s business setup tool to determine which documents you need, and get in touch with us if you need any assistance in initiating the process.

This might include passport copies, draft articles of association and key information about yourself and the company – such as names, IDs, share capital, business activity and contact details. The requirements do vary depending on the business activity and ownership structure, so make sure to check using the tool.

Generally, the required minimum share capital for a limited liability company is BD 50 per share, depending on the number of shareholders, legal structure and business activity requirement.

After preparing the documents, it’s time to obtain licenses and permissions. There are two stages here. The first – company registration without a license – takes approximately five days, allowing for the rental of space and bank account applications without starting operations. Adding on time for a license, the total time is approximately 14 working days (depending on the type of business activity being applied for) with the first step being preliminary approval from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (USD$132/BHD50).

After the approvals are granted, the company’s Memorandum of Association needs to be notarised at a cost of approximately USD$80/BHD30. Once this is completed, it’s possible to open a bank account, deposit your startup capital of USD$132/BHD50 or more allowing you to activate the commercial registration. Then, it’s time to register the company and employees with the General Organisation for Social Insurance (free of charge). And that’s it – your business is off the ground.

Who can help me to start up a business in Bahrain?

Here at Bahrain EDB, we are readily available to provide information and guide you through your journey to invest in the Kingdom. We work with companies all the way through the setup process and beyond, providing:

  • A dedicated account manager.
  • Guidance and information to support the decision-making process.
  • Support in all aspects to speed up the setup process.
  • Ongoing aftercare support to aid businesses in development and expansion.
  • Assistance with access to grants and assistance with company registration.
  • Engagement across government to help develop business-friendly policies.
  • Events and meetings designed to foster the business community.

Accelerators and incubators from across the ecosystem act as an ideal landing pad for startups giving them access to potential partners and angel investors – helping them set up a company in no time.

Additionally, several third-party professional services organisations can also help with the financial and legal requirements of setting up a startup and we are happy to discuss this with you. At Bahrain EDB, our team of experts are readily available to help answer your questions and guide you through the process of setting up in order to ensure your experience in Bahrain is a smooth and successful one. Get in touch at any time by clicking here.

Go to top