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Bahrain Sets off to Launch a $100 Million "Fund Of Funds" To Attract VCs

The fund, to be launched this month, aims support the growth of startups across the kingdom, but will also contemplate investments across the region.

Bahrain's Economic Development Board (EDB) is setting off to support the growth of startups across the kingdom, planning to allocate $100 million to draw venture capitalists' attention to startups shaking the status quo of Bahrain and the entire Middle East.  

“We’re putting in place in the next month or so a ‘fund of funds’, which will aim to attract venture capitalists in Bahrain," EDB's Managing Director Simon Galpin tells The National. "They don't have to only invest in Bahraini companies, they can invest from Bahrain in startups across the region.” 

With 70 percent of Bahraini youth enthusiastic about starting their own businesses, according to a 2016 survey by Ernst & Young, there is a total of 65 startups in Bahrain, a 2017 census reported. “I think that Bahrain is one of the few, actually the only GCC country, that has a prominent local population of people who are 100 percent from Bahrain, who speak English, who are middle class, who are competent in technology, who have good jobs and similar," says Nezar Kadhem, founder of Eat, a Manama-headquartered online restaurant reservation system. “That’s a big advantage to any entrepreneur who wants to try something because by default people are extremely open to new ideas. They are open to entrepreneurship.”

Main Image: Bahrain EDB's participation in the 2018 Career Week, earlier in March. Courtesy of Bahrain EDB.

 


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