The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), the investment promotion arm of Kingdom of Bahrain today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Istanbul Development Agency (IDA) for co-operation on the development of start-up ecosystems in their respective countries. The MoU was signed by Pakiza Abdulrahman, Manager of Business Development – Startup at the EDB and Fatih Piskin, Secretary General of IDA.
Seeking to build on the growing innovation landscape in Bahrain and Turkey, the new agreement offers a platform for entrepreneurs to network, collaborate and scale their businesses on a regional level. Accordingly, the areas of cooperation between the two entities would include the provision of co-working spaces, logistics support, access to the wider startup ecosystem line mentorship, talent, funding, and potential partners. Additionally, the MoU looks at other business set-up services to ensure a smooth transition for start-ups between both markets.
Ms. Pakiza Abdulrahman, Manager of Business Development – Startup at the EDB said: “We are excited to partner with the Istanbul Development Agency to facilitate greater collaboration between start-ups and innovators in Bahrain and Turkey. Both our countries have invested heavily in developing infrastructure that is essential for start-ups to grow and succeed. Global expansion is integral to this journey. By paving the way for the exchange of ideas, resources and growth opportunities between entrepreneurs, we stand to benefit from more trade and investment that is mutually beneficial for our economies.”
The MoU is in line with the EDB’s aims of exploring global networks for the promotion and development of entrepreneurship in the Kingdom. Similar to Bahrain, start-up activity in Turkey has expanded rapidly in recent years.
Mr. Fatih Piskin, Secretary General of Istanbul Development Agency said: “From now on, investment promotion agencies become partners rather than rivals. We are today signing an MoU, which is based on concrete and tangible grounds. In this respect, we will be honoured to welcome Bahraini entrepreneurs in Istanbul; then, provide invaluable services in order to make a smooth landing and transition in their new destination. Our goal is to mutually increase the volume of projects and certainly FDI.”
In 2018, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows from Turkey stood at $297m making Turkey the third source of FDI for the Kingdom. Bahrain is home for 9 prominent Turkish banks, including Isbank, ZiraatBank, Yapi Kredi, Finansbank andKuveyturk. There are currently 5 key manufacturing companies operating in Bahrain including TAV, Orta Anadolu, Gama Holding, Goknur Food and Sonmez Metal. F&B sector is another attractive sector for Turkish restaurants and cafés like Mado, Simit Sarayi, Sütiş, and Kosebası. Additionally, Bogazici Ventures (Menapay), Justmop and Mental Up are some of the startups that are currently in the process of setting up their operations in Bahrain.
As a gateway market to the $1.5 trillion GCC economy, Bahrain offers the ideal launch pad for start-ups looking to enter the region. The country provides a positive regulatory environment for global investors and entrepreneurs, including reforms such as a bankruptcy law, data protection laws, and 100 per cent foreign ownership in the majority of sectors. The Kingdom also boasts the lowest cost of doing business in the region, at up to 40 per cent less than neighbouring cities. Consequently, Bahrain has seen international start-ups grow by 100 per cent between 2016 and 2018.