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Business accelerator programme to give helping hand to start-ups

Bahrain News
Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Ghazi Alshehabi
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A NEW business accelerator programme aims to support and invest in more than 40 local and international startups and entrepreneurs in the next three years.

Flat6Labs Bahrain was launched by Flat6Labs, an Egypt-based startup accelerator and seed investment company, in partnership with Tamkeen, on the sidelines of the Unbound conference which ended yesterday at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

Unbound is a global innovation event that Bahrain took part in for the first time, organised by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Start-up Bahrain, as part of Start-up Bahrain Week.

The accelerator scheme will select seven local and international start-ups every six months, each of which will receive $30,000 in seed funding and undergo a 16-week mentorship programme.

It will focus on start-ups in certain sectors including financial services and payments; education; information communication technology and electronics; mobile apps and games; b2b infrastructure services; healthcare; tourism; real estate technologies and hardware and industrial solutions.

At the end of every six-month cycle a ‘Demo Day’ will be held for the companies to showcase their business to a host of investors and potential business partners.

“We have offices across the MENA region but we found something very interesting in Bahrain, we saw a lot of support from the government represented here by Tamkeen, EDB and other institutions that are supporting start-ups,” said Flat6Labs chief executive Ramez El Serafy.

“That’s a huge indicator of the potential in the country which doesn’t exist all over the MENA region, some countries are still behind on that and are looking at what Bahrain is doing in this field.

“This is a huge opportunity for us to come here and explore the market and create a platform for start-ups that can come from anywhere in the world and launch their businesses here.

“There is a huge Bahraini talent here which is still untapped, many of them are between government jobs or corporations and many of them are thinking about having their own business and being their own boss, many of them are well educated and know what start-ups can really do.”

Tamkeen chief executive Dr Ebrahim Janahi, who attended the two-day conference, explained that the government has been working towards boosting entrepreneurship in the country.

“Accelerators are one of the solutions we offer to businesses in the Kingdom of Bahrain as part of our efforts to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the kingdom,” he said.

“We are delighted to have a world-class organisation such as Flat6Labs, and look forward to enriching the experiences of Bahraini businesses by bringing global models and developing their business according to advanced and successful models of business accelerators.”

Flat6Labs Bahrain will start accepting applications for its first cycle of the accelerator programme on until April 20.