MANAMA: CH9, one of Bahrain’s first business accelerators, expects to be home to 100 start-ups by 2019, as the entrepreneurial community grows and develops at a rapid pace across the region, according to its founder and chairman Mohamed Altawash.
Talking to the GDN on the sidelines of My Start-up Bootcamp, organised by CH9 in partnership with YoStartups, Mr Altawash said CH9 has extensive commercial and legal expertise, and long-established relationships with key decision makers, regulators and government bodies in the region to support entrepreneurs with their start-ups and innovations across the Middle East.
Within its 16,000 sqft premises at Lagoon Park Amwaj Islands, it offers private offices and co-working space with links to service providers, mentors who are leaders in their field, and an expanded network of angel investors.
The setup also includes an art gallery, coffee shop and a copy centre.
“Our vision is to enhance the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bahrain and the GCC region by providing a platform that supports, teaches, encourages and inspires entrepreneurs to take the bold steps to scale up.”
He said the start-up cycle is three years and there is no ambiguity about that – anybody who does not succeed in scaling up or monetising or cashing out is going bust.
“Start-ups can be incubated or accelerated for only two years and then they have to carry on with their business model, after that it’s perform or perish.”
CH9 is currently home to 45 start-ups, about half of whom are Bahraini, a third are from the GCC (mainly Saudi Arabia) and Mena and the rest are expat-owned.
As per the accelerator law in Bahrain, the CH9 capacity is 150, he said.
Bahrain’s ecosystem and strategic location at the heart of the GCC makes it the perfect environment for start-ups to find all the tools and resources to test, launch, grow and scale to the regional market.
Mr Altawash said a new bankruptcy law will be enacted this year in the country, with the purpose of encouraging more entrepreneurs to take risks and endeavour in business ventures, without having to worry about any legal liabilities that would otherwise stop them.