If you told me 5 years ago that I would be in Bahrain with my own business, I would not believe you. But here I am, and I’m here to tell you the story of how I discovered the startup scene in Bahrain, and my journey towards entering the startup world. Originally from the Hadramout region in south Yemen, I grew up in the United Arab Emirates with a constant interest in the business world, where I wanted to make something out of myself.
I knew I wanted to get into the business field, and I realized that the opportunities for setting up a business in Bahrain are unbeatable. Through following Startup MGZN on social media, I learned about Startup Mornings, a casual event by Startup MGZN where I thought I could learn more about business opportunities in the Kingdom.
As I started to read more about the startup ecosystem in Bahrain, I decided to attend the event to learn more. I flew to Bahrain from Hadramout to attend the event in 2016, and the experience went above and beyond my expectations. I got to meet a lot of people from founders, government representatives, and mentors.
While I was in Bahrain, I got the opportunity to work with Mesk Holdings, a corporation that manages food & beverage companies, based in the Kingdom which I decided to take while continued to branch out and attend all the different events and workshops Bahrain has to offer.
Attending the events made me realize that I want to become an entrepreneur myself, and Bahrain was the right place to startup. After settling down in Bahrain, and attendingManama Week 2017, that gave me the push I needed to start my own business and that got me on track to Startup Weekend.
My first venture into founding my own startup was participating in TechStars Startup Weekend in 2018 During Global Entrepreneurship Week. The 54-hour boot camp and competition gave participants a chance to brainstorm and pitch their ideas, speak to like-minded people, work in teams, and test out a business idea. I decided to participate in Startup Weekend to test my idea and see if it could fit in Bahrain’s market. And the result was better than I had expected.
We got great feedback from the mentors and judges, and I realized the idea is perfect for Bahrain’s market. Thankfully, we not only won first place in Startup Weekend Bahrain, but also were the regional winners in TGSW!
I didn’t stop there and went on to participate in the Food Ideathon MENA Bootcamp with Kok Project, a business development company working in the food and agriculture sector, where I developed my business idea further and pitched it to potential investors. I also was happy to find out that I won the Ideathon competition and earned a one year access to CH9’s hub, wi-fi, and co-working space.
What’s the big idea that won all these competitions? I am proudly the founder of Supplify, a cloud-based platform that finds the best suppliers and streamlines the workflow between suppliers and vendors. Supplify, short for “supply” and “simplify”, works within the food & beverage industry to provide a simplified version of services for companies within that field.
We are currently operating in CH9, where we aim to digitize the process of ordering supplies for restaurants and cafes by streamlining the workflow and giving suppliers more recognition and exposure. We help business owners find the proper supplies without the hassle of searching through multiple sources. We provide them with one platform to find the best option, price, and services they need.
Within the next 5 years, we aim to be the leading platform for food & beverage suppliers in the MENA region.
If you plan on starting your own business, my advice would be to keep an eye open for events, and focus on solving one problem at a time, because you never know when you will get inspired with your own idea! I also recommend you take advantage of the many opportunities, competitions, and networking events that Bahrain has to offer and get involved in the startup ecosystem because we are a welcoming helpful bunch.