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Thanks to a joint initiative by Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Beehive, the Kingdom’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) now have an alternate avenue or funding.

The new platform, also dubbed Beehive, is basically a debt-based crowdfunding platform targeting not just the SME sector in Bahrain, but across the broader region.

Founded in 2014, Beehive was the first-of-its-kind peer-to-peer lending platform in the Middle East and North Africa.

The new platform will deploy an innovative crowdfunding technology to do away with all the complications and unnecessary expenses associated with the conventional financing methods. It does so by enabling businesses directly connect with investors, thus making the process more streamlined and efficient.

Additionally, it also paves the way for lower cost loans for businesses, as well as a higher return on investment for investors.

Speaking of the potential of the collaboration with Beehive, Dalal Buhejji – Business Development, Financial Services, Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “We are delighted to welcome Beehive to Bahrain, which has long recognized the importance of entrepreneurship as a high-potential driver of economic diversification and growth. Access to finance is an essential element of any startup ecosystem and crowdsourcing has a significant role to play as an additional source of funding for businesses that have previously been dependent on bank finance.”

She added: “Beehive will also create a new route for investors to gain exposure to the growth in the Kingdom’s SMEs, complementing existing platforms such as the Bahrain Investment Market, which is tailored to fast-growing businesses.”

Worth noting here is that Beehive’s launch in Bahrain is in compliance with the Central Bank of Bahrain’s regulatory framework first introduced in 2017. That means the new platform supports both conventional and Shari’a-compliant financing.