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unbound Bahrain set to become MENA’s newest and most exciting innovation festival

– Two-day event to feature Innovation Expo, pitch competition and hackathon –

– Over $100,000 in prize money to be awarded over the two days –

Manama, Bahrain, 27 February 2018: Focusing on key trends and developments in the digital economy, unbound Bahrain will host some of the Middle East’s most exciting entrepreneurs next week at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

The two-day event, which is part of the Startup Bahrain Week, will take place on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th March under the patronage of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB). The event will link startups with corporates and creativity with entrepreneurship, while featuring live demonstrations and product showcases, panel sessions, workshops and more.

unbound Bahrain will see a range of leading speakers, including keynote remarks from Daniel Seal, Founder & CEO, unbound, H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, CE, Bahrain Economic Development Board, H.E. Simon Martin CMG, British Embassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Mazin Khoury, Chief Executive Officer, American Express Middle East.

Daniel Seal, CEO & Founder of unbound, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be a part of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s emerging innovation ecosystem and the anchor event of the very first Startup Bahrain Week. I’m thrilled to have worked with the forward-thinking Bahrain Economic Development Board to create such a valuable moment for this game-changing region.”

As part of the two-day event, Brinc and C5 will also host ‘Face-Off on The Track’ for startups at the seed stage and scale-ups to present their companies and tell their stories live at a pitching session. $25,000 will be awarded the first place winners in each category, while the runners up will receive $10,000 each.

Also, American Express Middle East, in partnership with IBM, will host a hackathon to develop solutions to make digital payments more accessible – promising to bring together some of the most innovative minds to tackle a vital challenge. Hack@The Track offers a grand prize of $20,000 for the winning team, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the runners up, with solutions judged on simplicity, creativity, impact and design.

Mazin Khoury, CEO, American Express Middle East said: “American Express Middle East’s Hack @ the Track will bring some of the region’s finest minds from Fintech, eCommerce and Digital Innovation together in one competitive, immersive and highly exhilarating event. And as a proud sponsor of unbound Bahrain and a founding partner of Fintech Bay, we’re delighted to be a major contributor to the future development of Bahrain’s digital economy.”

Tech giant, Microsoft, will host 50 of MENA’s most innovative startups, showcasing tech from across the region as part of the ‘unbound50’. The tech company will also host a workshop on Artificial Intelligence on the Future Stage.

“Start-ups are the backbone of any economy, and Bahrain is seen as a productive ground and a regional center for them to create, innovate and grow.” said Saif Al Hosni, General Manager, Microsoft Bahrain and Oman. “We want start-ups to work smarter by having easy access to enterprise grade technologies such as the cloud, Artificial intelligence and Machine learning – so they can unleash their potential to achieve more.”

Mobile and data services operator, Zain, will celebrate the International Women’s Day -on Thursday 8th March- by hosting a Main Stage panel championing female entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The panel will feature a selection of the country’s finest female founders. As a Gold Sponsor, the telecom company will provide WiFi throughout the festival and host a Zain Lounge.

John Kilmartin, Executive Director of ICT, Bahrain Economic Development Board said: “We recognise the major role entrepreneurship is playing in economies around the world – encouraging growth, accelerating economic diversification and creating jobs. We are proud to be a sponsor of Startup Week and see first-hand how startups, corporations and government entities can collaborate further and become the driving force in our economic transformation.”

More information on unbound Bahrain can be found on the event’s website: https://unbound.live/bahrain-2018/agenda

Further information on Hack @ The Track can be found at: http://www.hackatthetrack.com/ More information on Startup Bahrain Week can be found on the week’s dedicated webpage on www.startupbahrainweek.com.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

Further information:

Isa Mubarak

Email: communications@bahrainedb.com

About The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB)

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency with an overall responsibility for attracting investment into Bahrain, and is focusing on target economic sectors in which the Kingdom offers significant strengths.

Key areas of focus include tourism, manufacturing, ICT, and logistics and transport services as well as other sub-sectors. The Financial Services sector in Bahrain is particularly strong and the EDB supports in the continuing growth of the banking industry and key sub-sectors, including Islamic Finance, Asset Management, Insurance and Re-Insurance.

For more information on the Bahrain EDB visit www.bahrainedb.com; for information about Bahrain visit www.bahrain.com

About unbound

unbound connects brands and corporates with disruptive technology, products and services in order to fuel their innovation and growth. unbound works across three key areas: Labs, Insights and Festivals. Over 21,000 founders, entrepreneurs, investors, brand executives, startups and opinion formers will attend the award-winning unbound festivals in 2018. For more information, please visit www.unbound.live or follow on Facebook & Twitter, @unboundglobal.

About StartUp Bahrain Week

StartUp Bahrain Week is a community-led initiative that brings together the region’s most exciting startup events and connects some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds. It is hosted in the Kingdom under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB). More than 2,500 people from around the world are expected to take part in Startup Bahrain week through five events and four competitions, with over 30 local and regional speakers confirmed to attend.

The week’s events include the GCC Game Conference (Saturday 3rd of March), the exciting Rowad Talk (Sunday 4th of March), which will host a guest speaker to discuss the experiences and challenges of their startup journey, and the My Startup Bootcamp (Sunday 4th to Monday 5th March) which will showcase the services offered by incubators and accelerators to startups. Participants will also meet with the entrepreneurs attending Follow the Leader – a one-day forum organised by Thinkers & Doers (Tuesday 6th March).

Find out more at www.startupbahrainweek.com.

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