Bahrain opens centre to support home businesses
Manama, March 20, 2014
A new centre to support Bahrain's cottage industries was officially opened yesterday.
The Home Based Business Centre is located at the Manama Community Centre, Juffair, and is a "one-stop shop" for Bahrainis who launch small businesses from their own homes, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The centre has been running since the start of last month and provides licences, networking opportunities, free assistance and training to hundreds of people who rely on home enterprises to make a living.
It was claimed the centre eliminates red tape by up to 50 per cent during yesterday's official opening by Social Development Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi.
The minister told the GDN that those involved in cottage industries needed more exposure.
"These businesses start at home and have no fees," she said.
"The Family Bank for financing small businesses gives them loans.
"We want their effect to be seen in the economy, so we want to support them and make them more visible. Their work is very important.
"This centre is now a one-stop shop for everything they need in order to get their Registry of Home Businesses certificate."
She hopes the centre's support will help diversify existing cottage industries.
"We want to see people move in different areas in home-based businesses," said Dr Al Balooshi.
"We currently have food and sewing, but I would really like to see things like working with electronics.
"Here those people have a network of services that comes together."
Sitra Centre for Productive Families head Jawad Moosa Al Jad told the GDN the new service had major benefits.
"We wanted to change people's perception that home-based businesses only produce traditional handicrafts and make people understand you can produce anything," he explained.
"We want to get more youth and men involved too.
"At the moment, only about 25 per cent of those applying for the Registry of Home Businesses certificate are men.
"We had the idea for the centre last year and began operating at the beginning of February.
"We have had approximately 620 productive families come forward to apply (for a certificate) and have processed 140 to 150 so far."
Applications are available at any community centre, but must be handed in at the new facility in Juffair.
People must be Bahraini, aged over 18 and cannot hold a Commercial Registration (CR) to qualify.
"I'd say about 25 per cent of the business are currently successful, but we want to work with them to keep pushing that up," said Al Jad.
"We will be holding workshops on photography next month, general at first and then in specific areas.
"We will keep holding different workshops, including those for accounting, how to market through social media and for personal confidence.
"We want to help these businesses as much as possible."
One woman to benefit already is Um Aziz, who told the GDN she had been producing crochet work and jalabiyas since 2007.
However, through the new facility she had learnt how to use a sewing machine to diversify her products into cushions and quilts.
"I've benefited a lot, it's useful to my business and I enjoy it," she said.
Among those at the centre launch yesterday were Capital Governor Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, government officials and municipal councillors. - TradeArabia News Service