Another day another massive achievement by Bahrain in having the largest FinTech Hub in the region.
Feeling lost? Don’t fret! We spoke to Khalid Saad, CEO of Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB) to tell you all about FinTech and its role in the equation!
The Bahrain Fintech Bay is the leading FinTech Hub in the Middle East, located in the Arcapita Building, Bahrain. Bahrain FinTech Bay provides a physical hub to incubate insightful, scalable and impactful FinTech initiatives through innovation labs, acceleration programs, curated activities, educational opportunities and collaborative platforms.
According to Khalid, the Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB) bridges the gap between financial market participants and stakeholders by offering:
- A physical hub and to simmer up impactful FinTech initiatives.
- Generate, develop and accelerate ideas with Bahrain’s financial services sector.
- Creation of a complete ecosystem that will drive the FinTech industry in the Middle East.
In fact, Bahrain offers the right mix of ingredients of an astounding platform that can’t be ignored. Thanks to the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB’s) continuous initiatives and policies offering competitive financial services like –
- Regulatory Sandbox – That allows FinTech service providers and digitally-powered financial institutions around the world to experiment and test their innovative ideas and solutions.
- Crowdfunding Regulations – We certainly cannot forget about the crowdfunding regulations which allows growth of equity, debt based and Shariah-compliant crowdfunding.
“Bahrain’s financial services sector is the second largest contributor to GDP (16%) and the largest non-oil & gas sector. It is imperative that the sector is ready for all the changes/disruption that is happening globally in the FinTech space. This readiness is at a regulatory, institutional and collective ecosystem level, which will help Bahrain further its ambitions as a digital and knowledge-driven economy. Additionally, it is important to build awareness and promote education around FinTech so that everyone is cognizant of how all the global changes in FinTech will impact and facilitate their lives”, said Khalid Saad, CEO of Bahrain FinTech Bay.
So who are the partners of the BFB again?
- Founding Partners: AFS, Ahli United Bank, Albaraka Banking Group, Al Salam Bank, American Express, Arcapita, Batelco, BBK, Benefit, BFC Group, Bahrain Insurance Association, Bin Hindi, Bahrain Islamic Bank, BNP Paribas, Cisco, CORK Information Technology, GFH, GIB, Ibdar Bank, Ithmaar Bank, Investcorp, Kuwait Finance House, Microsoft, National Bank of Bahrain, NEC Payments, Payment International Enterprise, Roland Berger, 01 Systems and Tap.
- Corporate Partners: SICO Investment Bank, Mohammed Jalal & Sons and Murabaha Club.
- Associate Partners: Takaud, Newton Consult, and Travelex.
Additionally, the FinTech Consortium is one of the key stakeholders behind the idea of BFB. FinTech Consortium is a FinTech Incubator and Ecosystem Builder that aims to further the development, interaction, and acceleration of FinTech ecosystems. Through their FinTech incubation platform, they offer corporate incubation, research lab, and venture acceleration as well as provide access to analytical tools and FinTech related resources.
The idea was the brainchild of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and FinTech Consortium and were both the primary drivers behind bringing the BFB to life.
According to Saad, Bahrain has showcased wonderful efforts on the regulatory side plus the amount of engagement on FinTech-related matters between different parties, there is a strong appetite to push FinTech forward, and for Bahrain to be a regional leader.
So what was missing from the equation of claiming the leading FinTech Hub in the region?
Saad believes that there was a lack of a physical platform which would help bring together the different stakeholders under one roof. BFB is aiming to bridge this gap, especially as it is an accurate reflection of a public-private partnership (PPP), something that has never been done before in Bahrain, regionally and globally in FinTech on this scale.
But you wonder, how will BFB attract regional and international startups?
Well, according to Saad, “BFB will act as a focal point for FinTech activity in Bahrain. It is located in a prestigious address on the 3rd floor, Arcapita Building overlooking the sea and right next to the Bahrain Economic Development Board. BFB is not just a physical space, but rather a complete ecosystem. Startups that are part of BFB, whether local, regional or international will be plugged into the ecosystem from day one. Additionally, they will get support to expand into other markets either via BFB’s partners or FinTech Consortium’s network.”
Moving forward, Khalid Saad is excited towards what BFB has in store like:
- Bahrain FinTech Manifesto 2020;
- Bahrain FinTech Ecosystem Report 2018;
- Arabic FinTech Dictionary – Now available!
- Bahrain Annual FinTech Survey;
- BlockOn: Blockchain focused event;
- InsurByte: Insurtech focused event.
Additionally, BFB aims to promote education further and build bridges with local, regional and international ecosystems.
BFB will also be representing Bahrain alongside its partners in the world’s most significant FinTech events in the Netherlands, United States and Singapore.
For more information about Bahrain, FinTech Bay click here.
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