Business aid plan for Bahraini women
Manama, April 12, 2011
A national scheme with funds of up to BD2 million ($5.3 million) is set to encourage more Bahraini women to become successful independent entrepreneurs.
The Supreme Council for Women (SCW) has launched Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Women Entrepreneurship Scheme in co-ordination with Al Ebdaa Bank.
It aims to support women who wish to start a business from home as well as existing women-led enterprises looking to expand.
It is supported by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka, wife of His Majesty King Hamad and SCW chairwoman.
Any Bahraini woman aged between 18 and 65 can benefit from the scheme, said Al Ebdaa Bank marketing and public relations head Soubah Al Zayani.
'HRH Princess Sabeeka has stressed that the scheme is a financing one and not a grant,' he told a Press conference held yesterday at the SCW, Riffa.
'The goal is to allow beneficiaries to learn how to think in an economic and financial way towards establishing their business.'
The scheme provides a loan between BD200 and BD5,000, depending on the nature of project and the applicant's ability to pay.
Applicants are offered a repayment tenure between six months to three years to pay back the loan, with 50 per cent of the expense on the loan subsidised by Tamkeen.
Al Zayani said that the bank was setting up a branch in SCW headquarters to familiarise visitors with the scheme.
'The branch will have a bank employee to explain the scheme to visitors in a bid to encourage women to open their own businesses and be financially aware and independent,' he said.
'Those interested can also visit the bank's branches in Hamad Town and Sanabis.
'The bank is also offering free training and consultation to those registered with the scheme.'
Meanwhile, SCW projects director Ezildeen Almoayyed said that the council had started receiving applications to enrol in the second phase of three major projects.
A total of 155 female entrepreneurs will receive financial backing and other support to fill places in SCW's transportation, photography and fashion design schemes.
Eighty of them will offer transportation services, while 60 will work in fashion design and 15 in photography.
'The council has already registered interested applicants in its database to be considered in the second phase, which is now being launched,' said Almoayyed.
'New applications will also be added to these to choose the right candidates to benefit from these projects, which aim to empower Bahraini women.'
Those offering transport services will receive grants to buy vehicles, while the fashion designers will get specific training and instruction on managing fashion shops at the Royal University for Women.
The third group of women will be trained in photography, television filming, using different camera types and professional photography techniques at Bahrain University.
Upon completion of the training, they will get help buying the equipment they need to start their own business.
The move follows the signing of an agreement last week between SCW and Tamkeen, in collaboration with Al Ebdaa Bank.-TradeArabia News Service