A new report claims Bahrain has a higher percentage of female startup founders than London and Silicon Valley.
Bahrain is one of the top 10 startup ecosystems with the largest share of female founders, according to the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER).
Described as "the world’s most comprehensive and widely-read research on startups," the report is produced by StartUp Genome in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.
With 18% of its startups founded by women, Bahrain topped startup hubs such as Silicon Valley (16%) and London (15%). The report also lauded Bahrain as: one of the top 10 ecosystems to watch in FinTech in Europe and the Middle East, and a top 15 global ecosystem for affordability of qualified talent.
H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said:“This report draws on the views of the people who know best – entrepreneurs and founders. In a very short time, Bahrain has emerged as a leading ecosystem with particular strength in FinTech. With both female founders and women taking leadership roles throughout the ecosystem, Bahrain is a dynamic and diverse market at the head of new trends that are shaping the way society and business operates.”
Dr. Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi, chief executive of Tamkeen (Bahrain’s Labour Fund), added: “Over the past decade, Bahrain’s startup ecosystem has made significant progress, where startups can access a global network of partners to scale up and capture opportunities in Bahrain and the region.”
According to Dr Janahi, to date more than 59% of women have been served as part of Tamkeen’s micro finance support, while more than 50% were served within the business development programme, which offers a co-financing service to cover 50% of business equipment.
Bahrain has a long history of women in senior leadership positions. Currently, a group of female leaders in FinTech is helping to steer the country’s FinTech strategy. Leading female Bahraini startup founders include Hala Sulaiman and Ameera AlQubaiti - co-founders of Alrawi, a successful audiobook startup and Pitch@Palace Global 3.0 People's Choice 2018 Winner.
Furthermore, Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds, a $100 million fund set up by the Bahrain Development Bank, has an all-female leadership.
The report also recognised Bahrain as a Top 15 global ecosystem for affordable talent. It’s estimated that more than 60% of computer science students at the University of Bahrain in 2018 were women.