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With the new year right around the corner, instead of thinking of our New Year’s resolutions, we decided to look back on the successes of 2019 and what an exceptional year it has been for Bahrain.

Bahrain witnessed a lot of wins this year through its startup ecosystem, in the fields of FinTech, Open Banking, investments, and you didn’t have to be a football fanatic to celebrate with the rest of the country when Bahrain won the GCC Cup. With a lot of successes in one year, it’s hard to keep track of them all, so we decided to do that for you.

Here is a list of over 50 things that made 2019 a fantastic year for Bahrain;

Country Successes

  1. StartUp Bahrain was crowned the ‘Digital Startup Hub of the Year’ of 2019 by Enterprise Agility Awards!

  2. Bahrain became the first country in MENA to offer Open Banking solutions through the National Bank of Bahrain’s new  “Aggregator”.

  3. Bahrain’s Cabinet took a landmark decision to empower the Kingdom’s burgeoning small and medium enterprises sector by issuing a new dictate that reserves a 10% quota on all public contracts for SMEs.

  4. Tamkeen and Amazon Web Services band together with Bahrain Polytechnic, and the University of Bahrain (UoB) to launch two new Cloud Innovation Centers (CICs).

  5. Tenmou launched its Angel Investors Education program with the support of Tamkeen.

  6. Cloud giant Amazon Web Services launches new “Middle East Region” in Bahrain.

  7. SADAD Bahrain rolled out a new disruptive service Dubbed “Sadded” to make transactions between businesses and their customers a lot safer and easier.

  8. The World Economic Forum selected UK and Bahrain as a testbed for new AI procurement rules.

  9. Al-Salam Bank and MSA Capital partnered up to launch a $50 million venture capital fund.

  10. Bahrain topped the entire MENA region for Islamic Finance development.

  11. Bahrain entered into a partnership with the state of Kerala to boost startup and ICT innovation.

  12. Bahrain passed the new Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) to protect you and your data.

  13. Bahraini crypto businBahrain tops Silicon Valley and London with the highest share of female founders according to Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) Produced by Startup Genome in association with Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

  14. Bahrain hosts the 11th Global Entrepreneurship Congress at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

  15. Bahrain announces a new program dedicated to the 100 Arab startups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

  16. Central Bank of Bahrain issues “Robo-advice” to expedite digitization of the homegrown financial sector.

  17. Tamkeen Bahrain brings back its Business Support Program from hiatus.

  18. StartUp Bahrain Week 2019 was another milestone in Bahrain’s journey as a hotbed for entrepreneurial success.

  19. Bahrain Economic Development Board and Beehive join forces to make funding easier for the region’s SMEs.

  20. Bahrain created history by implementing the UN’s Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records.

  21. Goodbye to the old, hello new! The University of Bahrain introduced the first blockchain certificates for new graduates.

  22. businesses and traders rejoice as central bank introduced draft regulations in a regional first.

Community Successes

  1. The Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance (BIBF) launched a new FinTech program for young Bahraini students.

  2. Bahrain Polytechnic implemented an AI Academy in collaboration with Tamkeen and Microsoft.

  3. Bahrain Fashion Incubator (BFI) joined forces with Maison De Joelle Bahrain Bahrain Fashion Incubator (BFI).

  4. Bahraini Fashion Designer invents Smart Abaya.

  5. The University of Bahrain introduced a Cloud Computing Degree Program in the Middle East with Amazon Web Services Educate.

  6. Amazon Web Services and EDB partner to bring Middle East Corporate Ideas Factory.

  7. Bahrain’s first Business Angels company Tenmou rebranded and revamped its strategic direction to better cater to up-and-coming startup founders.

  8. Zain Bahrain forged partnerships to launch Zainnovate.

  9. Al Waha “fund of funds” invests 50% of its $100m capital within the first year.

  10. Export Bahrain launched a new “Trade Map” Online Platform.

  11. Kuwait’s accelerator Brilliant Lab launched in Bahrain.

  12. IKEA launched its “IKEA Forward” accelerator program.

  13. Tamkeen is revamped flagship support programs to add value to Bahrain’s job market.

  14. FinTech Consortium and Georgetown University joined forces and rolled out a new online interactive course.

  15. The University of Bahrain and Google Developers Group Manama jointly offered free training programs for all.

  16. Tenmou partially sold its stake in Eat App.

  17. Labiba’s partnership with Bahrain FinTech Bay was awesome news for the region’s FinTech ecosystem.

Startup Successes

  1. Bahraini startup Hayatech wins a regional competition and is one step closer to winning $500,000 at the final Seedstars Summit.

  2. Bahraini FinTech startup NEC Payments (NECP) made its first stride towards conquering the US market by joining forces with Silicon FinTech Bay (SFB).

  3. Bahraini startup Doctori, Bahrain’s first and only licensed telemedicine platform by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) has raised over $100,000 in pre-seed investment.

  4. These 8 Bahraini startups went to Silicon Valley as part of the MIT EF Pan Arab Silicon Valley Program and were sponsored by Tamkeen.

  5. Workforce management startup, SINC raised funds from MENA investors, targeted customers in North America.

  6. Bahrain-based startup Rain became the first licensed crypto exchange in the ME, and raised $2.5M in a seed round.

  7. 60 Bahraini ICT companies and startups took part in Bahrain Pavilion at GITEX 2019.

  8. The Stories Studio bagged $70K in its 1st follow-on funding since graduating Flat6Labs Bahrain.

  9. AlRawi Book wins The eGovernment Excellence Award for “Best Application for Smart Devices”.

  10. Bahraini startup Inagrab secured funding from Faith Capital and will utilize the funds to support the scaling of Inagrab’s core product, “Dalooni

  11. “Unique” real estate app Estater launched in Bahrain and bagged an endorsement from the EDB.

  12. Bahrain-based Rain becomes the first Shari’a-compliant crypto exchange in the region.

  13. Zain Bahrain’s partnership with Majra will help youngsters tap in on attractive job opportunities.

  14. U.K.-based Innervate chose Bahrain launched its office to target the regional financial sector.

  15. Tenmou launch their new collective hub to help shape the startup ecosystem/

  16. A huge StartUp Bahrain delegation attended Web Summit that included startups, accelerators, investors, and government entities.

Those are some of our highlights for 2019, now we’d like to hear some of yours. Share with us some of your unforgettable moments that made your year on our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Here’s to a great year ahead, and we’re hoping for bigger and better things for Bahrain, our startup ecosystem, and for you in 2020. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with our ecosystem news.

Jenan Al-Mukharriq

Jenan Al-Mukharriq

A highly driven organizing member of the StartUp Bahrain ecosystem. And a Project Manager at Matter In Hand with a passion for content creation and empowering communities.