Bahrain students plan to launch dream projects
Manama, February 9, 2014
Plans for an outdoor cinema and an innovative rooftop garden are just some of business concepts dreamt up by a group of university students in Bahrain.
Bahrain Polytechnic students have been working alongside the Family Bank to develop new projects, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It comes as part of the Islamic micro-finance bank's "Ideas Factory" programme, which was launched in 2012 in collaboration with the Social Development Ministry to generate new business ideas and link them with appropriate clients.
"The students prepared business plans and looked into their financial feasibility as part of projects they were doing at the polytechnic," said Family Bank microfinance division senior manager Alka Priyadarshini Kumra.
"We are now in the process of linking these ideas with appropriate customers and finding sponsors - we don't just want to give people an idea and leave them to it."
Some of the enterprising young students have become so attached to their ideas that they are even looking at ways of implementing themselves by securing funding from organisations such as Tamkeen.
"This is micro-enterprise, it is smaller than small and medium enterprises (SMEs)," said Kumra.
"The business plans were made with a BD7,000 ($18,369) budget in mind, which is not a huge investment and is the upper limit of bank finance. Some businesses could generate enough income for entrepreneurs to become self-sufficient, however."
Although the bank cannot finance all the projects due to a lack of capital, it can act as an intermediary to get the ideas off the ground.
"We can show people around and highlight the different ways to get funding, even if we are not able to give them the money ourselves," explained Kumra.
Ideas Factory project manager Marwa Aljaber said the programme was also designed to encourage the growth of so-called "social businesses" in Bahrain.
"Social businesses help solve a problem in society in some way," she said.
"They should address some social need, whether it is employment or food supply or anything like that.
"If someone could come up with an idea that reduces Bahrain's reliance on imported food, for example, then that would be a social business.
"We want to do something to make a difference in Bahrain and change the economy for the better.
"One of the ideas is an outdoor cinema and another involves growing plants on the roof.
"But we encourage people to apply with ideas for social businesses as well." - TradeArabia News Service