Call to support small start-ups in Bahrain
Manama, June 29, 2010
Bahrain's government has been urged to share the wealth by giving contracts to small start-up companies, not just large established firms.
Economist Dr Yousef Mashal said the kick-start this would give to new ventures was worth the risk.
'Companies owned by the government, such as Mumtalakat companies (like Gulf Air and Alba), need to use the services of small businesses,' he said on the sidelines of a workshop on entrepreneurship yesterday.
'They should support them from the beginning, they shouldn't just stick to big companies.'
He said government initiatives to support entrepreneurs through Tamkeen or the Bahrain Development Bank, were paying off.
However, he added it was time the government showed trust in fledgling firms by sending them work.
'These entrepreneurs can provide services and products and should be given the chance to go through this exercise and we should teach them and show them the way,' said Dr Mashal, chairman of Bahraini American Cultural Exchange Society (Baces) which organised the workshop.
'This is a national responsibility and a responsibility of the public sector to the private sector.
'And as a private sector company this will be a help to my company in the future because when this company grows it can provide my company with facilities.'
Around 60 students and professionals who have either started a business or are planning to embark on a new venture attended the event at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF), Juffair.
It was held with the support of the US government-funded Middle East Partnership Initiative and Creative Associates.
Dr Abdul Hasan Al Dairi, who has held a number of business-related positions in the public and private sectors, led the workshop and said people often didn't realise their potential.
'Many entrepreneurs have it within themselves to start their own businesses, but they just need a kick-start to help them realise their potential,' said Dr Al Dairi.
'But it starts with a passion, ambition or a dream that leads you to start your own business.'
Participants included Bahraini Zahra Ali Eid, 22, who is planning to open a flower arrangement business.
'I see the market is growing in flower arrangement and wedding planning and there is a lack of companies doing this in good quality at a competitive price,' she said.
'I like flowers and weddings and I have a designer. I'm studying banking and finance at Bahrain University, so I will be able to do the cost and business plan.'
Another participant was Indonesian Rosalina Bouchet, 43, who wants to expand her home-based traditional cooking across the country.
'I like cooking traditional Indonesian food, like crackers, and I'm doing this in the community,' she said.
'Now in Bahrain I find there is a need, but I have to create awareness because not much is known about Indonesian food here. It's also an initiative for introducing the Indonesian culture in general.
'This class is giving me the knowledge to enlarge my business.'
Each participant received a certificate from the BIBF, presented by Dr Mashal.
Meanwhile, Baces plans to launch an entrepreneurship website before year-end to connect entrepreneurs in Bahrain with those in the US.
It will provide a forum for young people to exchange ideas, find partners and raise capital.
Free DVDs of the entrepreneur workshops are available from Bahrain Horizon.-TradeArabia News Service