New networking site for young entrepreneurs
Manama, January 20, 2011
A new social networking site that aims to connect Bahraini and American entrepreneurs has been officially launched.
The Entrepreneurship Portal, known as e-pad (www.epad-bh.com), is an online portal dedicated to young Bahraini and American entrepreneurs, seeking broader access to growth markets, investors and mentors in the developing world.
The initiative is the brainchild of Bahraini American Cultural Exchange Society (Baces) chairman Dr Yousef Mashal, who developed the site to provide networking and financial opportunities for Bahraini entrepreneurs.
'This is the entrepreneur Facebook of Bahrain,' said Dr Mashal at a Press conference at the Capital Club, Bahrain Financial Harbour.
'It's a portal that we believe will grow and connect young Bahraini entrepreneurs with young American entrepreneurs, which is one of the goals of Baces.'
E-pad was created to work very similarly to other social network sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn and members can even sign in using their Facebook log-in, said Baces alumni member Rashid Riaz.
Members of e-pad can use the site to upload their details, company and projects and communicate with other entrepreneurs from Bahrain and the US who are also members.
The site allows members to view each other's details and share project ideas and information.
Other features include a forum, resources, news, updates and links.
The resources section includes a 'toolkit' which provides information and advice such as how to make a business plan, feasibility study and report.
There is also an advisory section which lists experts who can be contacted for help regarding a business project.
The site was piloted on Tuesday and overnight attracted more than 30 members from around the world.
Dr Mashal said the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement had already paved the path for businesses from each country to work together and e-pad was a tool that could help entrepreneurs further.
'Our vision is to get as many people together, talking together, putting their ideas or money together and starting a business,' he said.
'Our ultimate goal is to have investors from the US believe in a Bahraini business idea and vice versa.'
Dr Mashal said he hoped the site would also be a tool that could be used by US and Bahraini 'business angels' to help entrepreneurs create successful businesses.
'Business angels are becoming a phenomenon, where business gurus who have really been successful get together and create a fund and want to help young entrepreneurs,' he said.
'They receive proposals from those looking for funding and take the project on by giving funding and experience of how to do business.
'This is growing fast in the US and I would like to bring it to Bahrain.
'We hope through this portal we will create business angels to look into ideas and businesses of youth and make them grow.'
E-pad is created by Baces alumni and funded by Middle East Partnership Initiative of the US Department of State.
Baces is promoting the site through social networking sites and a competition for new members who have the chance to win a computer over the next 30 days. Project manager Mohammed Waqas and project designer Abbas Khalil also attended the Press conference.-TradeArabia News Service