Business ideas Bahrain
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a nation in the midst of attempting to bridge the divide between the current reality of regional economy and their leadership’s aspirations. Although the kingdom has demonstrated successful forays into finance and tourism in order to diversify their local economy, the largest portion of Bahrain’s revenue has been attributed to the crude oil and aluminum industries. Concerns for a lack of discern-able progress in diversification efforts, combined with a stagnant middle-class, compelled Bahrain’s monarch, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to define plans for bolstering development in the nation. In conjunction with the framework of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, the other prominent figures in Bahrain’s leadership, including members of the royal family and the private sector, launched various development and award programs targeting specific sectors of the kingdom’s economy: the crown prince, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, launched the Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship to recognize successful commercial enterprises; the wife of Bahrain’s reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Sheikha Sabika bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, served as patron of theFamily Bank, Bahrain’s micro-financing institution; quasi-commercial organizations such as Tamkeen, heads a financing program for larger enterprises in collaboration with some of Bahrain’s banks; in addition to Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) are merely a selection of the parties with vested interests in the support and growth of the kingdom’s own burgeoning private sector.
Of particular interest in the way of novel commercial ideas would be the efforts of the Family Bank and the BCCI. The Family Bank operates in collaboration with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Social Development, the Royal Charity Organization, in addition to numerous local and regional banks, with the collective focus of supporting the rural poor. The Family Bank concerns itself largely with social work aimed at improving the livelihoods of the kingdom’s poorest citizens by financing micro-enterprises or cottage industries in the form of a local chapter of the Grameen program and Micro-Enterprise Finance (MEF) program. The Grameen program was initially founded as a banking service geared for the rural poor in Bangladesh, but its successful demonstration of micro financing at the poverty line was replicated in many other countries including the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Family Bank’s Grameen program provides commercial training and investments to Bahrain’s poor amounting to between 500 Bahraini Dinars (BD) and BD 3,000, with low installment payment plans and repayment periods ranging from three months to 24 months in length, and the MEF program provides financing between BD 3,000 and BD 7,000 with repayment periods from six to 36 months. Although the apparent aim of the Family Bank is the improvement of social welfare in the kingdom, the possibility of viable and novel business models arising from the pressures of need cannot be completely discounted. A selection of the beneficiaries of the Family Bank’s support have been sole proprietorship involved in artistic carpentry, metalworking, jewelry, interior design, as well as early childhood education.
Unlike the other aforementioned development programs in Bahrain, which tend to provide relatively substantial financing for existing enterprises, the BCCI’s Future Entrepreneurs Award was recently announced as an initiative to award cash prizes and tutelage opportunities to the kingdom’s youth – specifically the students of Bahrain Polytechnic, who could present novel and viable business ideas to the Entrepreneurs Committee of the BCCI. In addition to cash prizes ranging between BD 1,000 and BD 3,000, truly novel business models could be financed by interested BCCI members, some of whom can be considered seasoned entrepreneurs with the ability to recognize commercial viability. Although the first edition of this program is geared towards the fields of information technology and electronics, the BCCI has announced future plans to include awards for novel business models in the realm of communications, consumer goods or services, as well as food and beverage. As younger people can be assumed to be the likely source of new ideas, especially those that go against the grain of convention, the objective of the BCCI Future Entrepreneurs Award is apparently to incentive the talent among Bahrain’s largely middle-classyouth in presenting revolutionary ideas, assisting the private sector in developing successful businesses – and in the long-term, to elevate the kingdom’s economy and its citizens according to its rulers’ aspirations.
To summarize, commercial prospectors seeking to realize novel business models in the kingdom should acquire a familiarity with the nominees of the EDB Award for Entrepreneurship for an overview of notable enterprises existing in various industries, to understand the local economic landscape and ecology by recognizing competition, un-serviced niches, and subsequently – to profit from this knowledge. Additionally, analyses of the beneficiaries of the Family Bank’s Grameen and Micro-Enterprise Finance (MEF) programs, as well as the BCCI Future Entrepreneurs Award, can potentially reveal the leading edges of commercial breakthroughs and prevailing market sentiment.