Bahrain among top global startup ecosystems

Bahrain ranks amongst the top 10 Mena Ecosystems and the top 10 Emerging Ecosystems in Performance in the 2023 Global Startup Ecosystem Report.

One of the world’s most comprehensive, data-driven researches on startup ecosystems, the report is published annually by the policy advisory and research organisation Startup Genome in co-operation with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN).

The latest version of the report was globally launched yesterday at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam, by JF Gauthier, founder and chief executive of Startup Genome.

Using data on 3.5 million startups across 290+ global ecosystems, the report provides compelling insights about startup trends including the impact of inflation, AI regulation and talent attraction.

According to the analysis, Bahrain’s ecosystem value increased to $928m compared to last year’s figure of $564m, marking an increase of 54 per cent in ecosystem value growth – which is a measure of economic impact, calculated as the value of exits and start-up valuations.

In addition, the kingdom was ranked 15th amongst Mena Ecosystem in ‘Talent & Experience’ which is a testament to national efforts to train and upskill talent in all industries especially the growing ICT sector, recognising the critical role of digital literacy in the country’s economic growth and development.


The latest version of the report was globally launched yesterday


The evaluation of Bahrain’s ecosystem led to recognition across various indicators, which is a testament to the recent successes achieved by local start-ups and scale-ups.

Besides its highly ranked performance in fintech since last year, the country was recently recognised for its advancements in cybersecurity and ‘govtech’ sectors, placing it among the top 15 Mena Ecosystems in funding and affordable local talent.

Commenting on Bahrain’s global ranking, Tamkeen’s executive director of strategy and transformation Alya Alaali said: “Start-ups are essential to economic growth, driving technology adoption and innovation, and job creation. The growth in the ecosystem value is a testament of Bahrain’s dynamism and workforce advantage.”

She added, “The strength of the fintech sector, and the cybersecurity skills of local workforce, along with the use of advanced technologies to provide efficient government services reflects the joint efforts put forward by Team Bahrain which resulted in the positive development of the ecosystem.”

Ms Alaali went on to say that through various programmes, partnerships and initiatives, Tamkeen will continue building on this momentum and march towards an ecosystem that allows start-ups to thrive and grow.

Stephan Kuester, head of ecosystem strategy at Startup Genome, said he was proud to be working with Tamkeen to highlight startup success stories in Bahrain and share with the world the top opportunities for continued entrepreneurial growth in the region.

“We are excited that Bahrain is part of our global network of world-leading innovators, and we look forward to driving further success through the power of connectedness and our ability to share key insights, best practices, and learnings for the future together,” he added.

The top three ecosystems have maintained their ranking positions from 2020, with Silicon Valley at the top, followed by New York City and London tied at #2.

China’s dominance declined, while India continued to grow: eight Chinese ecosystems fell in the rankings from last year, while seven Indian ecosystems moved up.

A key takeaway from the report was the insight that a recession is a good time to invest in start-ups – high interest rates can benefit start-ups, concentrating capital and talent into ventures that create value.

“Given that over half the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list launched during a recession or bear market, we know that lean economic times can produce high-performing startups,” said Jonathan Ortmans, founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network.




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