Zain Bahrain, the leading Mobile Broadband network operator in the Kingdom, successfully hosted the 8th edition of Zainnovate in partnership with Alkeri Partners, a Bahrain-based digital startup foundry, and Oqal Angel Investors Network, the first Angel investor community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia along with a branch in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Launched in 2019, Zainnovate is a strategic platform through which Zain and its partners – Alkeri & Oqal support digital startups in the GCC region by assisting them to develop, grow, and sustain within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The initiative aligns with Zain Bahrain's corporate sustainability and social responsibility strategy focused on Innovation, Thought Leadership, and Youth Empowerment which is in line with Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030 to be a leading tech and startup hub in the region offering 360 degree support to the SME sector.
For the event, Zain Bahrain, Alkeri Partners & Oqal Bahrain partnered with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, BDSME's Society, PRO SKY, Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship, Middle East Venture Capital Association, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and UNIDO Network of Investment and Technology Promotion Offices.
The 8th edition Zainnovate event was conducted virtually where the opening session was addressed by Sheikh Abdulla bin Khalid Al Khalifa, Director, Communications & Investor Relations at Zain Bahrain followed by Mr. Jamal A. Al-Hazeem, Chairman of Alkeri Partners and Oqal Bahrain Chapter, and Mr. Khaled Zainalabedin, Managing Partner of Alkeri Partners and Founder and President of Oqal Bahrain Chapter. The first session was addressed by the Guest Speaker, Ms. Noor Sweid, Founder & General Partner of Global Ventures & Chairperson of Middle East Venture Capital Association, who spoke in-depth about the Venture Capital landscape in the GCC, the impact Venture Capital has had on the GCC's startup ecosystem and how the economy has adapted to the change. The talk session was followed by a Q&A session.
The second session titled, 'Demo Day' presented Oqal Bahrain's startup cohort pitch sessions, which included three leading startups in the Fintech and technology sectors. The first pitch was by Arshad Gadit from Prowire, a platform that commoditizes professional services, followed by Hamza Khan from Letswork, a subscription based marketplace providing users with workspaces, meeting rooms and private offices, and Sohaib Khan from Hazen.ai, a Saudi-founded startup specializing in artificial intelligence (computer vision) to provide cutting edge detection solutions for traffic enforcement.
Commenting on the successful hosting of the 8th edition of Zainnovate, Sheikh Abdulla bin Khalid Al Khalifa, Director, Communications & Investor Relations at Zain Bahrain said, "Zain Bahrain has always supported Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom. Through this initiative, it is Zain Bahrain's constant endeavor to provide a platform that supports the rapid innovation growth in the ecosystem. We are thankful to our partners who have joined us and are helping to take ideas to market and support the growth cycle of entrepreneurial ventures in the region. Bahrain is emerging as one of the most exciting new locations for startup talent across the world and we are extremely proud that through Zainnovate we can help businesses and startups find the right funding access and contribute to Bahrain's economy."
Khaled Zainalabedin, Managing Partner of Alkeri Partners, and Founder and President of Oqal Bahrain Chapter said, "Zainnovate is not only a platform for startups looking for funding, but also for investors looking for investment opportunities. We believe through our collaboration with Zain Bahrain, we are stimulating young innovators in Bahrain and the GCC by equipping them with opportunities to develop, grow and sustain. Zainnovate has positioned Oqal Bahrain as a key aggregator and driver in the funding market; we have managed to grow and build an active Angel investor community that invests in early-stage startups, fostering growth and fueling the startup culture in the Kingdom."
Zainnovate targets different types of people such as, startup founders who want to pitch their new business ideas, get funded, or want to learn from industry experts. With the support of our partners and Oqal Angel Investors Network; Zain Bahrain is contributing towards the startup ecosystem in Bahrain by providing a platform for exceptional minds that will redefine the future.
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