The updated Riyadat program was launched today at a press conference organized by the Labour Fund (Tamkeen), in partnership with the Supreme Council for Women (SCW) and the Bahrain Development Bank (BDB). The program provides financing solutions for Bahraini women, enabling them to establish, develop, and expand their business ventures.
At the start of the conference, Her Excellency Shaikha Deena Bint Rashid Al Khalifa, Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Women, praised the ongoing support provided by the Labour Fund “Tamkeen” and the Bahrain Development Bank to the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bahrain, and their efforts to provide and enhance financing solutions that cater to the establishment and growth of Bahraini women’s business ventures.
Her Excellency also highlighted the positive impact that was witnessed since the launch of the Riyadat program in 2016, and the contribution of this portfolio, along with other local initiatives to enhance the contribution of Bahraini women to the national economy. She stated that Bahraini women today represent 42% of the owners of active commercial registrations, and 53% of virtual commercial registrations, and that the sustainability of commercial registrations owned by women for more than five years has reached 37%. Additionally, the percentage of local exports reached 29%, with the products and services reaching 56 countries.
Her Excellency reiterated that the updated version of the Riyadat Financing scheme is in line with the Economic Recovery Plan and labor market changes, and that is through expanding the offering to meet the needs of enterprises and projects of all sizes through flexible and specialized financing solutions that target the growth of enterprises and support their expansion at a local and global level, while focusing on supporting high-potential, innovative economic sectors.
For her part, Ms. Maha Mofeez, Acting Chief Executive of the Labour Fund “Tamkeen” stated that this program is a continuation of the comprehensive transformation plan announced earlier this year, which introduced 16 programs, in line with national priorities and labor market changes.
She added: “Tamkeen has always believed in the role of Bahraini women as active and influential players in the sustainability and development of Bahrain’s economy, in line with Tamkeen’s mandate, and as such, we are constantly exploring various forms of support, including financial, technical and advisory, which enable progress and business development. As a result, we have introduced the Riyadat financing program which provides an opportunity for Bahraini women to benefit from accessible financing solutions to develop their commercial activities, translating to further and continued success.”
She also noted that the updates introduced to the program came as a result of the collaboration with the Supreme Council for Women and Bahrain Development Bank that conducted a comprehensive review on the performance of the enterprises which have previously benefited from the support program, whilst taking into consideration both current and future Bahraini market needs to ensure achieving the desired economic impact. During the past years, financing solutions that exceeded BD 7.5 million for 318 women-owned enterprises in various economic sectors were provided through the Riyadat financing scheme.
Mrs. Dalal Al Qias, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain Development Bank, stressed the importance of the changes implied on Riyadat Financing Scheme, saying that: “Riyadat finance is one of the most important schemes that BDB offers in partnership with “Supreme Council for Women and Tamkeen” to support entrepreneurship field in Bahrain and to empower women specially to achieve their goals and take an effective part in economy development.”
Mrs. Al Qais also mentioned that these changes come “in line with the constantly changes that occur to the market and responding to the needs of the SME growing sector, which is one of the important pillars in economy development in Kingdom of Bahrain.”
Through the updated program, Tamkeen will incentivize a percentage of the profit payable by small, medium and large enterprises, depending on the support track. The profit subsidy increases when the amount is paid regularly within 5 years, as per the terms and conditions of the program, in addition to providing advisory services to the supported enterprises.
The financing amount can be used for fixed assets, to cover operating expenses, enhance the products and services offered by enterprises, and obtain licenses and other necessary requirements needed by the enterprise to grow and expand its operations, in addition to supporting marketing activities.
Applications to the updated Riyadat Program will open on January 1st through Bahrain Development Bank.
Tamkeen has recently received the award of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa for Bahraini Women Advancement in the public sector – official enterprises category, due to its distinguished organizational strategy that takes into consideration elements of gender balance to raise the competitiveness of women and increase their economic participation in the labor market.
Since inception, Tamkeen has provided more than BD 380m of funding support to Bahraini female entrepreneurs through its various support programs, including the Riyadat Program.