June 14, 2016
Boasting the Middle East’s most liberal and developed ICT market, Bahrain’s ICT infrastructure has been set up with your company’s success in mind. That’s why tech giants like Microsoft, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei and Tata Consultancy have chosen to have a presence here.
Read on to learn about the experiences of two ICT companies based in Bahrain – one a leading multinational travel corporation and the other an independent Small and Medium Enterprise (SME).
Sabre Travel Network Middle East (STNME)
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) sat down with Daniel Naoumovitch, Chief Executive Officer of STNME, to learn about STNME’s history in Bahrain and why it still serves as their regional base.
EDB: Tell us more about Sabre.
Daniel Naoumovitch: Sabre touches upon every aspect of the traveller journey with the largest portfolio of products accessible at all traveller touch points. We provide Travel Management Companies (TMC) with the least expensive fares, streamlined workloads for travel agents, tools for airlines to ensure the right crew numbers staff their flights and the ability for executive travellers to book online.
EDB: How did STNME settle on Bahrain?
Daniel: Sabre chose Gulf Air to officially distribute our products across the region since 1989. In 2004, we entered into a joint venture with Gulf Air. Bahrain was the natural choice as a regional hub for STNME due to its central and strategic location. We now operate out of 27 offices in 13 countries across the region. We have offices in Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
EDB: How has Bahrain’s location contributed to regional growth?
Daniel: Bahrain is a large enough market for our needs but also small enough to get around quickly and easily as a hub destination. The ease of travel also makes it ideal for our needs’. We can disperse teams in and out of Bahrain across the region easily, quickly and most efficiently.
EDB: How was the process of setting up like?
Daniel: Our biggest incentive for putting the STNME regional hub in Bahrain was the ease and speed of setting up here. It took us a few weeks to set up our company. When we were increasing our capital to further expand, it was a matter of weeks to put in place the structures needed to do so. We now run the following divisions from our Bahrain hub: IT, product suite offering, Finance, Operations and Support teams including Human Resources, and Marketing and Communications. So you can see our entire structure is Bahrain-based.
EDB: Are there other aspects of Bahrain that make it an ideal regional hub?
Daniel: We have never been short of talent in Bahrain. In 2005, we started with 30 employees and we now boast over 200 employees, with 80 Bahrain-based staff of which half are Bahrainis. Furthermore, we have found that Bahrain has among the lowest staff turnovers across our regional network in EMEA.
Another big advantage we have found in Bahrain is the variety of languages spoken. From here, we serve our customers in 4 languages: Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and English.
EDB: How long have you yourself been in Bahrain for?
Daniel: I have been living in Bahrain for eleven years, I initially moved to Bahrain with my wife and daughter where she attended one of the best schools in the region.
EDB: What do you find keeps you here after all these years?
Daniel: Bahrain to me is one of the most beautiful countries in the Middle East, with the kindest and most welcoming people I have met. Bahrain has the perfect experience where – you get the family environment, along with the growth and economic potential you ideally want for your business. It’s such an easy country to come into and call your home. The airport is the most accessible and you are never far from wherever you chose to go to. There is no other country where you can land, disembark, get through customs and be at your home within less than one hour.
Arun Aravindan, Chief Executive Officer of Elite Technology, has over 13 years of experience in the tech industry. Prior to establishing his own business in Bahrain, he worked as a regional consultant for a leading international firm based in Dubai.
Watch the video below to learn about Arun’s transition into becoming a business owner based in Bahrain:
Bahrain’s ICT Sector: At a Glance