Tamkeen and Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) signed an agreement to expand the Business Incubator Support programme, a joint Tamkeen- BDB initiative aimed at supporting start-ups and fledgling enterprises. Representing the two sides at the signing ceremony were Mr. Khaled Ali Al-Amin, Tamkeen Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, and BDB CEO Mr. Nedhal Saleh Al-Aujan.
Under the agreement, more incubator centres will be launched to support start-ups across a number of sectors. These include "Rukn" centre to cater to ICT start-ups and entrepreneurs in cooperation with Tenmou, and Al Jasra Handicraft Center to serve handicrafts in cooperation with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.
Launched in April 2011, the Business Incubator Support programme provides a number of customised services for 3 years to meet the needs of enterprises during their critical initial stages and help them achieve stability and sustainability. In addition to incubation units, the programme provides facilities to hold meetings, offers low-cost financing and strategic consultations, and conducts high-level entrepreneurship training courses.
Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Al-Amin said, "Business incubators are a catalyst for entrepreneurial innovation and encourage the establishment of new businesses, which is a prerequisite for developing a mature and sustainable private sector in modern economies. We look forward to launch more of these initiatives in the future to support the ideas of our ambitious youth and turn them into reality."
For his part, Mr. Al-Aujan stated, " BDB 's approach focuses on developing business incubators and attracting innovative ideas. To achieve these goals, we have created a number of pioneering initiatives through specialised incubators to promote the entrepreneurial culture and support SME's, including technical support initiatives and establishing new incubators in different areas of Bahrain, in line with Bahrain's Economic Vision."
Several business incubators have already been launched under the umbrella of the Business Incubator Support programme which helped a large number of Bahrainis start their businesses in various sectors. As of the end of December 2014, the programme has served 213 entrepreneurs, with the total support amount contributed by Tamkeen totalling around BD 595,000.
The programme started at the Bahrain Business Incubator Centre in Hidd. After its success, "Riyadat" - the first business incubation centre in the region to exclusively support female entrepreneurs - was opened in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Women in 2013. A third centre was opened at Bahrain International Airport in 2014.