Amid unprecedented Indian interest, StartUp Bahrain Week, the community-led festival of startup events, returned to Bahrain for the second time from 3-10 March.
The event which also saw extensive participation by founders, investors, incubators and accelerators from across the region and beyond was hosted in partnership with the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and Tamkeen.
The unprecedented Indian presence
The initiative witnessed a large Indian delegation representing the startup eco-system from India. 37 delegates from various parts of the country participated in the week-long gala event. These startups represented sectors as diverse as AI, Fintech, cyber-security, IOT and e-commerce.
A number of delegates from the southern Indian state of Kerala also participated at the event alongside the Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Alok Kumar Sinha. These delegates were supported by the Kerala Start Up Mission, Government of Kerala and were provided a separate pavilion at Unbound Bahrain, the showpiece event of StartUp Bahrain Week.
The unprecedented interest of the Indian startup community in Bahrains startup and tech space is a testimony to the opportunities that the island Kingdom has to offer for startups from India and across the globe to grow and thrive, a view echoed by David Parker, Executive Director, Bahrain EDB.
‘’StartUp Bahrain Week 2019 was a real community effort, packed full of inspirational events for entrepreneurs and investors that will encourage innovation and growth in the startup ecosystem – not just here but across the region’’, remarked Parker.
The delegates at the event had the opportunity to meet with captains of the industry, investors and potential business partners in Bahrain. In fact, startups who are considering the possibility of setting up shop in the region were provided appropriate guidance on various aspects of doing business in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
There are already strong historical links between India and Bahrain. The population of Bahrain (c. 1.5m) is just 1/1000th the size of India’s, but a large proportion of Bahraini residents – roughly a third – are Indian. This has helped to create a ‘Bahrain-India Business Corridor’ which accounts for bilateral trade worth more than $1bn per year.
StartUp Bahrain a huge success
Overall, it was a hugely successful event and headline events included Unbound Bahrain, a two-day innovation festival which hosted over 100 influential speakers in the fields of AI, FinTech, blockchain, sustainability, investment, digital health and more.
An ‘Ecosystem Tour’ allowed founders to meet key members of the Bahrain startup scene, such as StartUp Bahrain, EDB and Tamkeen. At the GCC Startup Meetup, major players in the GCC startup scene gathered to discuss common problems, exchange expertise, compare products and services, and help local startups access regional markets.