The year 2018 marked a special year for us here at the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), one in which we’ve realised record-breaking job creation and direct investment figures. We attracted over USD 830 million in direct investment with 4,772 jobs being added to our economy over the next three years. We have our Team Bahrain partners to thank for this, as well as 92 companies who have chosen Bahrain as a home for their businesses.
Meet some of our new neighbours:
Bahrain FinTech Bay
In February 2018, Bahrain FinTech Bay took root in the Kingdom as a dedicated ecosystem designed to position Bahrain as the region’s leading FinTech hub. Bahrain FinTech Bay, the largest dedicated FinTech hub in the MENA region, aims to accelerate local early-stage FinTech companies as well as attract foreign growth-stage FinTech ventures to establish regional operations in Bahrain. Bahrain FinTech Bay provides access to government officials, allied financial institutions, academics, and venture capitalists – accelerating the pace with which today’s FinTech leaders in the GCC will work to shape solutions for the region’s evolving economy tomorrow.
Flat6Labs Bahrain was launched in early 2018 during StartUp Bahrain Week in partnership with Tamkeen. Flat6Labs is one of the leading startup accelerator programmes and seed capital providers of the MENA region.
The exceptional business model of Flat6Labs, coupled with Tamkeen’s workforce expertise and funding support, positions the programme to effectively serve Bahrain’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. The programme aids in creating a sustainable investment vehicle that supports job creation, alleviates pressure on the public sector, and positions Bahrain as an innovation engine within the region.
Flat6Labs Bahrain is currently in the midst of its second cycle, bringing the number of startups it has invested in to 16 in total, out of a pool of over 350 applicants from 40+ countries. Applications for its upcoming third cycle are now being accepted, up until the 26th of February 2019.
Jumeirah Al Sahel Resort
Al Sahel Resort Company, a joint venture partnership between Mumtalakat – Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, and Dubai Holding, will be changing the landscape of Bahrain’s south-west coast with a new major family destination – the USD 250 million Jumeirah Al Sahel resort. Encompassing a 1.25km coastline, over 200 guest rooms along with leisure facilities spanning across 712,000 m2, the resort has a role to play in supporting the Kingdom’s long-term tourism development goals.
Thales, a French multinational defence, aerospace, security and transportation group, opened a dedicated office in Bahrain’s Financial Harbour in early 2018. With a 30-year presence in Bahrain and a long-standing relationship with the Bahrain Defence Force and the Civil Aviation Authority, Thales aims to use its new fixed base to strengthen its role in Bahrain by promoting innovation and providing solutions across a range of sectors in Bahrain.
Mondelēz International Expansion
Global snack powerhouse Mondelēz has been operating a state-of-the-art factory in Bahrain since 2008, and has opened its second factory this year, a ‘Best in Class’ biscuit facility. With the potential to produce 10,000 Oreos a minute, the new USD 90 million, 250,000 m2 plant will initially produce 20,000 tonnes of biscuits (capacity to produce 90,000) and create up to 300 direct jobs.
Mondelēz’s decision to open a second plant was heavily supported by Team Bahrain – where local entities worked together with Mondelēz to ease its setup and operations. For example, the collaboration led to a 70% reduction in transit times between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia – to whom around 60% of Mondelēz’s exports would go.