Emerging as a startup hub in GCC, Bahrain boasts of a tech-savvy young population, ICT-skilled workforce, a strong entrepreneurial culture and mentoring and financial support in the form of accelerators, incubators and venture capitalist and angel investors. To contribute to the vibrant startup scene, Bahrain’s well-regarded business accelerator, CH9 has joined hands with globally acknowledged firm YoStartups that provides early stage support to build and scale start-ups. YoStartups and CH9 aim to increase the success rate of startups and accelerate the pace of innovation in Bahrain by turning entrepreneurship into a science.
While YoStartups’ 1001 startup ideas will inspire youngsters in Bahrain to take the innovative route to build tech-enabled businesses that solve a visible customer pain, CH9 will provide the necessary infrastructural support along with helping youngsters get access to funding.
“Both YoStartups and CH9 have core values that profess, paying it forward and giving it to society. By giving youth the access to world-class scalable ideas we are seeding their minds with innovative thoughts, the entrepreneurs with strong support from our ecosystem partners will build world class startups from Bahrain,” says Mohamed Altawash, Co-Founder, and MD of CH9.
CH9 and YoStartups are focusing on Technology, as it is the fastest growing segment. The global gross domestic product today is around $100 trillion. The technology sector (information and communications technology) is roughly 4.5 percent of that, compared to only 2 percent in 1992. If this continues at current growth rates, then the tech sector will balloon to become 8 percent of global GDP within the next 15 to 20 years. Global growth, meanwhile, is projected to be about 2.6 percent, which means that the tech sector is expanding twice as fast as the global economy.
“Our vision is to enhance the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bahrain and the GCC region by providing a platform that supports, teaches, encourages and inspires entrepreneurs to take the bold, necessary steps to innovate, create and share prosperity in their respective countries,” says Jappreet Sethi, CEO of YoStartups.
Some of YoStartups’ 1001 startup ideas include structured business plans on, brain training web-applications, a social network for doctors, web-application for splitting restaurant bills, smart lockers for e-commerce companies, Artificial Intelligence based performance management system to name a few. Along with socially appealing ideas, Yostartups.com suggests a scientific approach to creating and managing startups. It teaches young entrepreneurs what to produce, how to begin, who to target and how to achieve the result.
“Once an individual entrepreneur or a team of youngsters join the 1001 Startup Ideas Club, they get initiated in the startup cycle. By giving them a fresh startup idea every week, we are helping them get better at picking up a scalable and viable business idea,” says Jappreet Sethi, CEO of Yostartups.com.
The winner from the “1001 Startup Ideas” pitching sessions at the college will have to apply for ‘Excelrate Your Startup Weekend’ in Bahrain. And if they qualify, which is tough with limited seats and strict selection process, they get access to the signature workshop that will help them in refining their business idea further. As on date, the program takes one batch every six months.
According to Altawash, “CH9 helps startups with a go-to-market strategy to tap into new territory. It takes a deep, committed interest in their business development, providing extensive support.”
The benefits of joining the 1001 startup ideas program include access to co-working spaces and a vast network of local, regional and international mentors. In addition to this, the participants will be able to access a number of free services from CH9 partners, international accelerator partners across the globe and access to Angel Investors and VCs.
Emphasizing the importance of the concept of startup mentoring method which Yostartup.com follows, i.e., lean startup, Sethi says that a lot of youngsters launch a product thinking that it appeals to consumers, however, often the works otherwise and the product fails the moment it hits the market.
“I think today work smarter matters more than work harder. One can only learn to work smarter with the thought leaders and mentors. An innovator should find out the answer to ‘Is there a demand for a particular product’? And the answer should be based on real feedback from the target audience of the product,” says Sethi.
Reports suggest that Bahrain, which had its first startup weekend in 2011, has come a long way from there and today local eco-system of educational institutions, angel investors, accelerators and incubators along with government initiative have contributed to creating a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship in the country. The Economic Development Board of Bahrain with its initiative StartupBahrain has turbocharged the pace of startup development in the country. The collaboration of CH9 and Yostartups.com has come at a time when the country is already trying to adopt the best international practices in startup culture from other nations.
YoStartups and CH9 have taken a holistic approach to developing the startup ecosystem by offering the young entrepreneurs structured business ideas that leverage technology. This is supported by a host of services for capacity building, training, mentorship, and funding so that the entrepreneurs can translate the startup ideas into successful commercial business ventures and contribute to a stronger and vibrant Bahrain.
YoStartups believes that original ideas emerge from unexpected places in unanticipated ways if you give the entrepreneurs a clean playground with a bit of stimulus. This is how the Silicon Valley came into being, It did not happen overnight, but was built over decades of strategic investment backed by an unrelenting vision for an innovation-driven economy. “By partnering with CH9 and giving the youth access to 1001 startup ideas, we believe we will be able to fast track entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bahrain,” adds Abhishek Singh, Co-Founder of YoStartups.