With over 100 fintech startups in Bahrain, the country is slowly emerging as a Fintech hotspot. Bahrain recently ranked as one of the world’s top 100 destinations for startups and ranked second in the MENA region in terms of ease of doing business. This favourable business environment is helping to attract its fair share of Fintech startups. But can Bahrain become a fintech hotspot and challenge some of the leading fintech countries? In this article, we’ll look at some of the influencing factors that could see Bahrain become a fintech leader.
A Great Testbed for Startups
Due to the country’s small population of only 1.5 million people, it makes a great testbed for startups looking to test and validate their products and services before expanding. The smaller population means that it’s also easier to access the right decision-makers not only in the fintech industry, but in government as well. The region also launched its first regulatory sandbox in 2017 to enable startups to test their ideas within a controlled environment.
Dedicated Workspaces for Fintechs
Bahrain has recently launched the Bahrain Fintech Bay (BFB) to help bring together fintech startups. The coworking space is one of the MENA’s largest fintech hubs and now hosts leading fintech startups like RobustWealth and Offrbox. The bay helps fintechs gain access to international partners, a global network, and expedited regulatory frameworks that allow them to approve new ideas quickly.
Ease of Doing Business
Bahrain’s government have tried to make it as straightforward as possible for fintech startups to launch in the country by setting up simple processes and procedures. With a business-friendly regulatory environment, strong infrastructure, and a robust legal framework, any fintech startup that wants to set up in Bahrain can do so with ease. The government has also reduced capital startup requirements from $50,000 to $100 for some businesses to encourage more startups to launch.
Initiatives like the Bahrain Development Bank’s Rowad programme are helping fintech startups to develop and grow. Whether it’s helping provide workspaces, training programs or financial assistance, fintechs can gain invaluable support that can help them grow quickly.
A Supporting Digital Environment
The Government of Bahrain has been one of the pioneers in embracing digital technology. Since 2007 when the government introduced the Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA), they have taken steps to help create a futuristic business ecosystem that encourages startups to set up in Bahrain.
The governments embrace of digital technology is helping make business more straightforward, which in turn is encouraging more people to pursue entrepreneurship. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Bahrain now ranks among the top 50 countries that is witnessing an increase in the number of startups opening for business.
What Does the Future Hold?
The fintech industry in Bahrain shows no signs of slowing down, which makes it exciting times for fintech startups. With strong support and initiatives and a forward-thinking government, it’s no wonder why fintech companies are choosing Bahrain as their home base.
Will Bahrain rival some of the leading fintech countries? It looks likely. However, only time will tell.