By Mariam Ishaq
Bahrain Development Bank Group is an institution focused on entrepreneurship development to influence socio-economic prosperity in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Striving to achieve this vision, the BDB group is targeting youth in many of its activities as they are the future of the Kingdom and the ones taking the economy forward for the next decades to achieve Bahrain's economic vision.
Following Bahrain’s Model of Entrepreneurship, the bank is focused on supporting existing and potential entrepreneurs throughout their entrepreneurial journey. This takes place by offering Advisory and counseling services to entrepreneurs at the beginning, prior to the establishment of their business. The purpose of which is to ensure that they are on the right path from the very beginning and to empower their skills. This is accompanied by training workshops to provide them with sufficient knowledge and prepare them for the challenge of managing their own business. The next step would be offering Finance facilities and Grants to enable the establishment of the business with sufficient capital.
The bank wouldn’t leave you just yet! It offers options for incubation where you can lease a location from the bank’s Incubators (Bahrain Business Incubator Centre – BBIC, Riyadat, Rukn, and UoB incubator) for a subsidized rent amount, along with unique support services. In addition, growth counseling is offered to entrepreneurs to further develop their business and enlarge their scale of operations locally and regionally.
Looking back at the year 2013, the Youth (of both genders) constituted around 70% of the bank’s Advisory and Counseling services, and approximately 100% of our Training and Workshop attendees. The bank is keen on reaching out to University and School students by conducting awareness campaigns, student counseling sessions, guiding students in business plan competitions, and sponsorship of Youth-Oriented events in partnership with various organizations locally and regionally.
Among the bank’s major successes dedicated to the Youth is the “Takween” program conducted by the bank in partnership with the Ministry of Education. The program is running as we speak and is aimed at creating entrepreneurship awareness among high school students of Commercial and Technical streams to capture their creativity at this young age and inspire them to consider entrepreneurship as a career option rather than focusing solely on employment as the only option.
Imagine Cup competition 2014 in partnership with Microsoft is another Youth initiative supported by the bank to support young creative entrepreneurs in establishing problem-solving projects that will make a difference on an international level. The bank's contribution will be in coaching and counseling contestants to pitch their ideas and create a sustainable business model.
Batelco Entrepreneurs Program is another Youth-Oriented success that was launched this year and due to continue on annual basis. It is targeting university students to enhance their entrepreneurship skills.
The bank's incubators that include Bahrain Business Incubator Centre, Riyadat (Women Incubator Centre), University of Bahrain Incubator, and the recently launched Rukn (ICT incubator) have also successfully contributed towards many innovative startups among the Youth that have "graduated" into sustainable competitive businesses operating in the market, among which some have even expanded to the regional and international markets.
Bahrain Development Bank Group is aimed at inspiring and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship through its financial and non-financial support schemes among the youth. Therefore, we encourage you to come to us with your ideas and turn them into reality!
For further details on the bank's support services, log on to http://www.bdb-bh.com and chat with us live!