Ghazi Alshehabi (Pictures and videos: Mahmood Al Saleh)
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MANAMA: Start-ups from across the region have gathered in Bahrain for a global innovation conference.
Fifty-seven start-ups took part in the Unbound conference, which kicked off yesterday at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of Start-up Bahrain Week.
Unbound is a global innovation event that Bahrain is taking part in for the first time, organised by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Start-up Bahrain.
The two-day event aims to help entrepreneurs by allowing start-ups a chance to pitch their ideas to local and regional investors.
It also featured a series of workshops and seminars by local and international experts.
“Innovation has a major role to play in accelerating economic growth and diversification, in creating new jobs and fostering new skills to meet future needs,” said EDB chief executive Khalid Al Rumaihi.
“Building a supportive ecosystem in which start-ups, corporations, investors and governments collaborate to solve problems and drive forward change is a core focus for the EDB, and it is for governments and entities around the world.
“We are also committed to fostering even stronger ties with other ecosystems across the region and around the world – particularly in Asia, Europe and the US – to facilitate two-way collaboration across borders.
“Ultimately we want to see innovations and businesses incubated in Bahrain that scale globally, while at the same time providing a launch pad for start-ups from other countries to access new opportunities in the GCC and around the world.”
The conference also featured two competitions; a hackathon organised by AngelHack and American Express where 90 teams of up to five people created a programme for digital payments over the course of the two-day event.
The winning team, which will be announced today, will receive $20,000, while the runners-up will win $10,000 and $5,000.
The other competition called Faceoff@The Track was organised by Brinc and C5, and featured seven start-ups and seven scale-ups giving the best pitch. The prizes are $50,000 for first place and $20,000 for second place.
Start-up Bahrain Week is a community-led initiative that brings together the region’s most exciting start-up events and connects some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds, with more than 2,500 people from around the world expected to take part.