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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a critical role in driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities. In Bahrain, SMEs account for more than 90% of all registered businesses and employ a significant portion of the country’s workforce. Despite their importance, many SMEs struggle to access funding and resources which hampers their ability to grow and succeed. That’s where the private sector comes in. With the right support, the private sector can help empower SMEs and elevate their presence in the market.

One of the key ways the private sector can help SMEs is by providing access to funding. In the Kingdom, many established companies have shown their commitment to supporting SMEs through initiatives like providing loans and investments. For example, Al Baraka Banking Group, National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) and Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) have launched several initiatives aimed at supporting SMEs in the country, including providing financing and training programs. By partnering with these institutions, SMEs can secure the funding they need to grow and succeed.

Another way the private sector can help SMEs is by offering mentorship and business support. Many established companies have years of experience in running successful businesses. They can leverage this knowledge to help SMEs by providing mentorship, training, and support services. By partnering with the private sector, SMEs can benefit from the expertise of established companies and emulate it!

In addition to funding and mentorship, the private sector can also help SMEs by creating partnerships and collaborations. By working together, established companies and SMEs can share resources, pool expertise and create new opportunities.

The private sector can also lend SMEs exposure and market access to reach new customers and markets by linking them to their existing networks and distribution channels. For instance, a few supermarkets in Bahrain have dedicated sections to local products, allowing them to tap into their home markets and take their businesses one step further. There’s no denying the crucial role the private sector plays in fueling the engine of growth for SMEs and elevating their presence in the market.

With the right continuous support, SMEs can access funding, mentorship, partnerships, and market access and perhaps even globalization! By continuing to partner with SMEs, the private sector can help empower the next generation of successful businesses in Bahrain.