Photo by Connect2Innovate on 14 March, 2023

Israeli, Bahraini Entrepreneurs Expand Collaboration

Public By Pesach Benson • 16 March, 2023

Jerusalem, 16 March, 2023 (TPS) -- A first of its kind conference connecting Israeli and Bahraini entrepreneurs wrapped up in Manama on Wednesday evening, leaving participants upbeat about new business opportunities.

Some 600 people attended the three-day “Connect2Innovate” conference, which was spearheaded by Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organization based in Israel that connects Israeli innovation to international markets.

The conference gathered government officials, large corporations, international organizations, business communities and technology innovators to focus on challenges in fintech, logistics, supply change, water, energy and climate. The conference’s various events focused on issues such as developing human capital, ways for countries to exchange knowledge and best practices, the future of banking and financial technology, water security, smart energy and the establishment of a sustainable sea-air corridor.

“Fintech is one of the new and emerging fields of the region and a rapidly growing area globally and this event helped us gain the global perspective and provided an amazing opportunity to network with like minded individuals within the industry,” said Hanan Janahi, of Get Real Price Tech, a Bahraini fintech company.

“As a female entrepreneur in the fintech industry, it was a milestone event that set the base for more B2B interactions between Israel and Bahrain.”

Nave Shachar, Start-Up Nation Central’s Middle East and GCC director told the Tazpit Press Service, “Bahrain wants to be a knowledge-based economy and Israeli companies can benefit from a more open marketplace.”

Shachar said that Bahrain’s advantages include experienced financial institutions, and is a gateway to Saudi Arabia.

“I think Bahrain is a very agile country, with agile people and government. It’s very fast to adopt new regulations and has a very strong financial sector. And Bahrain’s talent pool has a lot of potential,” he said.

Since the signing of the Abraham accords in 2020, Israeli-Bahraini trade hasn’t matched the headlines grabbed by Israel’s more rapidly expanding business ties with the United Arab Emirates.

“There was more awareness of the UAE. It’s a larger economy, and there was a lack of awareness in Israel about the potential Bahrain has,” Shachar explained. “We want to find the right business opportunities. The conference is a platform to accelerate synergies between the countries’ financial ecosystems.”

During the three-day conference, Start-Up Nation Central signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tamkeen, Bahrain’s sovereign labor fund.

“Tamkeen is a semi-governmental organization that creates programs to promote Bahrain to become a global market,” Shachar explained. “The MOU’s the beginning of collaboration in human capital. We’re going to launch a program to bring Bahraini tech talent to Israel to further the relations.”

The conference also included a recorded speech by Israeli President Isaac Herzog and an address by Bahraini Minister of Industry and Commerce Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro.

In a statement to the Tazpit Press Service, Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na’eh said, “We are witnessing a rise in interest from the Bahraini and Israeli business communities to explore joint opportunities and do business together. More Israeli business people are visiting Bahrain and more companies are opening offices here. I trust that the Israeli business community will not miss the opportunities that are present to do business with Bahrain.”

The ambassador added, “The aim is to forge close contacts with the Bahraini business community, benefitting mutually from each other’s added values.”