A CIPE event in progress highlighting the potential of SMEs

Bahrain’s first business angel investor company Tenmou plans to support 50 Bahraini small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through a partnership with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in the US.

Under an 18-month project, two cohorts of 25 SMEs will be provided with specialised training and technical assistance, mentorship and coaching, and a platform for peer learning and business growth services tailored to Bahraini businesses.

A co-operation agreement in this regard was signed by Tenmou Chief Executive Nawaf AlKooheji and CIPE President Abdulwahab Alkebsi during an event held under the patronage of Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan, with representatives from the US Embassy and other SME support firms also present.

This new project supports inclusive and sustainable development by expanding opportunity for Bahraini SMEs. The main activities will involve the provision of mentorship, training, and other business support services; investor education and readiness; policy reform to strengthen Bahrain’s entrepreneurship ecosystem particularly around access to finance; and commercial dialogue between the US and Bahrain to expand utilisation of the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and other bilateral opportunities.

In her keynote remarks at the event, the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy to Bahrain Maggie Nardi emphasised American partnership in helping Bahrain diversify its economy to achieve sustainable economic growth. Darwish Mannai, a Shura Council member and chairman of the project’s Steering Committee, noted that the project aligns with the Kingdom’s post-pandemic economic recovery plans and its vision of an economy with a reduced reliance on natural resources.

CIPE’s Alkebsi emphasised that improving the investment environment and increasing access to finance will make the Bahraini economy more inclusive and diverse while enhancing its resilience and dynamism.

Tenmou’s Alkohegi, a Bahraini angel investors network and CIPE partner in this project, highlighted the potential of growth-oriented startups and SMEs through local investment. More than 50 Bahraini public and private sector leaders participated in the event, which was held at the newest location of Tenmou’s “Collective Hub” coworking space.

The event included a panel discussion which explored ways to unleash the growth potential of Bahraini SMEs and startups, moderated by CIPE’s Deputy Regional Director for Mena Stephen Rosenlund. The panelists, representing Tenmou, the Bahrain SMEs Society, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain (AmCham Bahrain), emphasized the role of the Bahraini private sector and strengthened commercial cooperation with the US in driving post-pandemic economic recovery and the diversification of the Bahraini economy.