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Since its establishment, Tamkeen’s strategies have been built around achieving its main objectives which include meeting the market requirements by supporting the private sector enterprises and individual Bahraini employees. Tamkeen is also keen on ensuring that its support program leave a sustainable impact, through continuous development and enhancement of these program, catering to the needs of the market, and supporting the objectives of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030. 

Tamkeen has witnessed a remarkable growth in the amount of support provided to the private sector enterprises by covering the operational costs and infrastructure of these enterprises, helping them maintain their growth. Tamkeen has spent more than BHD 193 million to support more than 13,659 enterprises through its Business Development Program, since its launch in 2009. There’s also an emphasis on upskilling Bahrainis and increasing their employability within the private sector, through a set of programs designed to develop their skills and support their wages.

Tamkeen’s programs and strategies to continue supporting the private sector

Since its establishment in 2006, the Labour Fund “Tamkeen” has injected nearly BHD 830 million into the development of the private sector to achieve the Kingdom’s goals of making the private sector as the main engine of the national economy, while also ensuring that Bahraini citizens are the first choice in the labour market.

The main initiatives of “Tamkeen” to support the private sector are done through several packages designed to meet the needs of enterprises and individuals: The Individual Support Program and the Enterprise Support Program, which the Business Development, and the Training and Wage Support program fall under.

The Business Development Support offers financial grants to private sectors enterprises of all sizes to support their operational costs or cover the costs of the materials and machines they need. This contributes towards helping the development and sustainability of these enterprises.

Tamkeen also offers a number of financing programs that aim to bridge the financing gap for enterprises by facilitating their access to finance at lower costs, and encouraging banks to provide financial assistance and guidance to enterprises, especially the small and medium-sized ones. 

Supporting the Private Sector through Business Development

To date, Tamkeen has provided support to more than 200,000 individuals and more than 53,000 institutions. With regards to the Business Development Program, which covers up to 50% of the costs of operational materials and services, the total support provided to enterprises since 2009 amounts to BHD 193 million, covering 13,659 enterprises. Since 2014, the Business Development Program has benefited 47% of startups, 42% of small and medium enterprises, and 11% of large enterprises. The sectors that benefited from this program were 55% from the service sector, 25% from the trade and retail sector, and 20% from the construction sector.

Supporting Training and Wages

The Training and Wage Support program has contributed towards supporting the wage increment of 26,146 Bahraini employees since the launch of the program in 2007, with a total support amounting to BHD 36 million, and an average support per institution of BHD 1,400. Accordingly, the average wage of beneficiaries increased from BHD 668 to BHD 760, an increase of BHD 92.

Through this program, training has been provided to 20,481 Bahrainis since 2016, with the total amount of support for enterprises to train their employees reaching to BHD 21.6 million in total. With this program, more than 44,000 training opportunities were supported for Bahrainis, at the rate of two training opportunities per employee.

In recent years, there’s been a significant growth in the amount of support, a result of the reintroduction of the Training and Wage Support program for the private sector employees in its new form, which also supports the objectives of the National Employment Program. The average support per enterprise for each employed induvial amount to BHD 3,800.

Supporting Individuals and obtaining Professional Certificates

Since 2011, when the Individual Support program was launched, 48,890 training opportunities have been provided in different fields. The program has supported 24,374 professional certificates with international accreditation, and 24,516 certificates in basic skills for fresh graduates and job seekers, to increase their employability. The total support for the training of individuals was BHD 58.7 million.

Tamkeen has also had a proactive role in supporting Bahraini employees since the Labour Fund’s inception, through the Career Progression Program that lasted until 2015. The program was designed with the aim of increasing productivity and enhancing the efficiency of Bahraini employees by utilizing their capabilities at work to achieve their professional development. This program contributed towards supporting the wages of more than 17,000 Bahraini employees, with an amount exceeding BHD 26.6 million.

Promoting Sustainable Economic Development

Tamkeen has devoted its efforts towards achieving its objectives by conducting market studies and research to acquire the data and requirements for development. This research contributes towards creating new and better job opportunities for Bahrainis, by offering a number of training initiatives with strategic partners in promising sectors, such as cloud computing, ICT accelerators, in addition to hosting global events. This has included hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Conference (GEC), which was held for the first time in the Middle East right here in Bahrain. Tamkeen also got advanced ranking by the Global Startup Ecosystem report, Startup Genome as on the top 10 emerging startup ecosystems in 2019 and 2020.

In addition, Tamkeen has partnered with Microsoft and Bahrain Polytechnic to launch the Artificial Intelligence Academy, which aims to provide expertise and opportunities for Bahrainis to grain practical experience in emerging fields related to AI, data sciences and innovation using the latest technologies and applications.

Tamkeen also partnered with Huawei to provide a training program aimed to encourage more Bahraini youth to get into the ICT field, while enhancing the ICT sector as well, and providing more job opportunities for students and recent graduates. Moreover, Tamkeen’s initiatives included a cooperation with the international Fives Group for engineering Industries in the field of industrial training which aimed at providing international work experience in private engineering companies with the Five group, to introduce the participants with international practices, requirements and standards in this field.

It’s worth mentioning that Bahrain was ranked by amongst the top ten ecosystems for female startups by Startup Genome. According to the report 18% of startups in Bahrain are founded by women, more than Silicon Valley which is 16%, and London which is 15%. According to the report, Bahrain is also ranked among the top 10 AME Ecosystems for Funding in 2020 and is among the world’s top five fastest-growing ecosystems with fewer than 1,000 startups.

The report also provided a detailed overview of the most important and prominent sectors emerging in Bahrain, which Tamkeen has been supporting through various support projects, such as supporting FinTech in Bahrain, Cloud Computing and more which contributes towards the development of ICT and the gaming industry.

The report issued in July 2020 also indicated that wage subsidies and the tax system in Bahrain are among the factors that motivate emerging business owners to set up their businesses in Bahrain, in addition to FinTech as one of the emerging sub-sectors on the regional level. 

Business Continuity Support Program in 2020

Following the Royal Directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to unite the national efforts in combating the impacts caused by the global spread of the Coronavirus in 2020, Tamkeen has redirected its programs towards supporting adversely affected small and micro enterprises. The support was provided through financial grants to cover their operational expenses, alongside the numerous initiatives provided by the Government to support individuals and enterprises during this time. Tamkeen has also expanded its circle of beneficiaries to support taxi and public transport drivers, and kindergarten workers. 

During this time, Tamkeen has provided support to more than 15,600 small and micro enterprises, with the total budget exceeding BHD 54 million.

The program was extended during the second phase with the most affected sectors for an additional six months, which included Restaurants and Coffee Shops, Gyms and Fitness Studios, Training Institutes, Travel Agencies, Salons and Spas.

During the two phases, the financial grants were provided these sectors, supporting 1,925 beauty salons with an amount exceeding BHD 10.44 million, 498 restaurants and cafes with an amount exceeding BHD 1.9 million, in addition to 211 gyms with an amount exceeding 1.2 million, and 139 training institutes with an amount exceeding BHD 1.16 million.