2013 Tamkeen Annual Report - Fostering Entrepreneurship in Bahrain

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Dan Isenberg's insights as to how Bahrain can attain economic growth through entrepreneurship.

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2013 Tamkeen Annual Report - Fostering Entrepreneurship in Bahrain

  1. 1. most talented potential entrepreneurs will naturally gravitate towards these opportunities if we remove the barriers. Encourage the maturation of true, open, and merit-based market processes. The most basic motivation of the best entrepreneurs is to succeed in a market that is fair and tests their mettle. Finally, it is important for Bahrain and Tamkeen to send strong and consistent messages of venture growth and scale up, celebrating those who take risks and grow whoever they might be, encourage tolerance of mistakes, and honour wealth-creation through hard work and risk-taking. Inspired by our fast paced lifestyle, we started Box It Restaurant that offers all kinds of food in boxes that makes it more practical and with reasonable prices. The restaurant would not have been successful if it weren’t for Tamkeen’s Tasweeq scheme (Marketing Assistance Scheme) through which we were able to create a menu, get branding designs, and a complete marketing strategy that made Box It stand out. Abdulhadi Diwani Founder and Managing Director, Box It Fostering Entrepreneurship in Bahrain Research and practice on entrepreneurship and economic development is beginning to show a clear pattern in many different countries and economies. First, only a small percentage of firms in any economy, those which grow rapidly for a few years, account for almost all of the positive economic and social impact of entrepreneurship in terms of job, wealth and fiscal health. The percentage is between 1% to 5% of all firms. The large majority of small businesses and newly created startups do not contribute to economic development. Second, these high growth and impact firms have typically existed for 15-30 years. Third, they are more often from basic industries than from those we think of as tech or life science “growth.” Make the system simple, transparent and fair for everyone… and the most talented potential entrepreneurs will naturally gravitate towards these opportunities. Celebrate those who take risks This poses a big challenge for governments who want to reap the benefits of entrepreneurship but also need to help everyone. Bahrain, in particular through Tamkeen and other agencies, has long seen business diversification as a strategic objective, and more recently has been looking to a more entrepreneurial culture to contribute to this ambitious national goal. The best words of advice I can give, based on thirty-two years of experience and many projects in advanced as well as emerging or mixed economics: Don’t try to pick winners or winning sectors. It is enough to prioritize social problems to solve (for example health care, the environment) and allocate resources to solve them. But do not allocate resources differently for different ages or sizes of firms, or for different sectors such as technology and non-technology: Let the market sort that out. Second, and instead, make the system simple, transparent and fair for everyone, not just young firms, and the Daniel Isenberg Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice, Babson Executive Education Executive Director, Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, CEO of Entrepreneurship Policy Advisors 14 15

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