Bahrain jumps nine spots in startup ecosystem index

MANAMA: Bahrain has jumped a significant nine spots to rank 66th globally in the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Index by StartupBlink.

Continuing its growth momentum from 2020, the country ranks fourth in the Middle East, showing its regional strength.

Bahrain also ranks 64th globally on the ‘Software & Data’ vertical, whereas the kingdom’s capital Manama jumped 103 spots to 337th globally among cities.

The report says Bahrain enjoys a collaborative community and is tax-free for most private companies, offering a framework of legal and support systems for startups and entrepreneurs.

The country also boasts initiatives like StartUp Bahrain, Tamkeen, and Bahrain FinTech Bay, it adds.

GDN reported last week that Bahrain saw Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows of $1.007 billion in 2020, as per the latest World Investment Report (WIR 2021) from the UN Conference of Trade and Development (Unctad).

Bucking global trends, the country experienced a 3.3pc increase in inward FDI stocks, reaching $31.7bn in 2020.

Listing benefits for founders who want to establish a start-up in the kingdom, the StartupBlink report says they include complete foreign ownership, zero taxes, and an attractive regulatory environment.

The Bahrain ecosystem is designed to help incubate startups and offers business support at early stages, it adds.

Updated annually since 2017, the ranking that covers 1,000 cities across 100 countries is considered one of the world’s most comprehensive startup ecosystem lists.

The index is built using hundreds of thousands of data points processed by an algorithm that takes into account several dozens of parameters.

The top five countries have all maintained their rank from last year.

Firstly, the United States maintains a massive lead over the second-ranked United Kingdom, showing a strong and dominant innovation scene across the 267 US cities ranked in this report.

Last year, the UK had a relatively large lead over third-ranked country Israel, but this difference has now narrowed substantially with the UK and Israel having almost the same total score.

The top two startup ecosystems remain the same as they were last year: San Francisco and New York.

San Francisco is the ‘supernova’ of startup ecosystems, evidenced by its total score, which is almost three times higher than New York.

The Middle East and Africa region saw solid gains in the rankings this year, establishing very positive momentum.

The region is represented by 22 ranked countries, compared to 20 last year, and showed a substantial increase in the number of ranked cities, from 55 last year to 74 this year.

Although the number of cities ranked in the global top 100 remained stable this year, the region’s representation among cities ranked 101-200 increased from six last year to eight this year, showing that ecosystems in this region are continuing to develop.

Commenting on the findings, StartupBlink chief executive Eli David said in the report: “As the world manages to slowly but surely innovate its way out of a devastating pandemic, it is clear that a new reality has emerged. Firstly, trends such as E-commerce and remote work have accelerated at unprecedented speed, accelerating us towards an inevitable future where our digital presence is at times more dominant than our physical presence.

“Covid-19, with all its implications on remote work and the digital economy, is creating unprecedented opportunities that must be harnessed by both cities and countries,” he added.




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