Reaching out across borders to benefit startups

Digital EconomyStartupTechnology

Cooperation and collaboration are critical success factors for entrepreneurial startups. In a world increasingly tied together by advances in communications technology, it is more and more common to find partners, collaborators, mentors and even entire ecosystems working across borders. So, how can we bring together ecosystems in a way that gives us a multiplier effect, and integrates the emerging tech scenes of different countries to everyone’s advantage?

A meeting of minds

Startup Turkey, which took place in Istanbul at the end of April, brought that question home to two agencies that are intimately involved in their countries’ advanced efforts to build sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems: Turkey’s Istanbul Development Agency (IDA) and Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB). EDB addressed the challenge head-on – announcing a fast track set-up process for Turkish startups expanding to Bahrain. And the two agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that pledges a new era of strengthening startup collaboration between the two nations.

Cutting through red-tape

EDB’s accelerated set-up policy comprises three main components:

  • A fast-tracked entry process which will cover residency, visa requirements and business registration;
  • Access to grants and financial support from Bahrain-based startup supporting agencies;
  • Access to incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces in Bahrain and how best to benefit from them.

This offer of full access to Bahrain’s startup ecosystem, which includes help to source talent, easy access to the wider regional market and the opportunity to pitch to powerful regional investors based in the Kingdom, reflects the kind of across-the-board cooperation that is indispensable to incentivising development.

A two-way street

Cooperation and collaboration, by their very nature, denote a two-way street. Naturally, ecosystems compete for talent, but they also thrive on accessibility, knowledge sharing and co-creation. In the end, both announcements reflect the principle that, today, regional and international expansion is integral to the full-fledged success of any entrepreneurial ecosystem. Everyone stands to benefit from an unfettered exchange of ideas, resources and growth opportunities. This free exchange can lead to enhanced FDI and mutually benefit all countries involved, potentially increasing GDP while creating jobs and spurring experience development.

Technology a growth area

This cooperation between Bahrain and Turkey is a natural evolution of enduring business ties between the two countries – Turkey is the third biggest source of FDI for Bahrain. Turkish investment is generally in the traditional sectors of banking, manufacturing, construction and food and beverage. But technology will grow fast – Turkish startups that are currently in the process of setting up operations here include Bogazici Ventures (Menapay), Justmop and MentalUP. In a world increasingly interconnected economically and technologically, startups can be the connective tissue that drives a new level of cooperation and productivity.

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