Over the years, venture capitalist money and investment has created a worldwide startup culture that has seen talented and innovative individuals going on their own with their ideas. However, it had also been a well-known fact for many years that only a handful of startup founders happened to be woman and that seemed to be the case almost everywhere. For a long time, it was believed that women were not allowed to work or set up businesses in the Middle East, but Bahrain has bucked the trend comfortably and is now reaching new heights as far as woman empowerment in business is concerned.
In a new development, it has emerged that the country’s startup space is perhaps far more tolerant towards woman startup cofounders than those in global tech hubs like London and Silicon Valley. The startling fact was revealed in the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, which is regarded as the gold standard as far as research into the startup world is concerned. Bahrain emerged as one of the top 10 countries with the highest percentage of female startup founders and it has also managed to upstage two of the traditional startup powerhouses in this particular metric. Among all the startups that exist in Bahrain, 18% of those have been established by women. On the other hand, the figures for the same metric for London stands at 15% and 16% for Silicon Valley.
The Bahrain Economic Development Board chief executive H. E. Khalid Al Rumaihi reacted to the news positively and stated,
This report draws on the views of the people who know best – entrepreneurs and founders. In a very short time, Bahrain has emerged as a leading ecosystem with particular strength in FinTech. With both female founders and women taking leadership roles throughout the ecosystem, Bahrain is a dynamic and diverse market at the head of new trends that are shaping the way society and business operates.
There is no doubt that it is a significant development, but it remains to be seen whether Bahrain can grow these figures in the years to come.