In mid-March, weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Bahrain, Tamkeen, following the Royal Directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, alongside the Government’s announcement of the financial and economic stimulus package, preemptively launched a new initiative called the Business Continuity Support Program. The objective of the program was to help small and microenterprises in Bahrain’s private sector limit the extent of financial challenges caused by the pandemic.
As Bahrain’s Labour Fund,Tamkeen has been a backbone for Bahrain’s startup ecosystem and the entrepreneurial community. The current crisis has only highlighted the Labour Fund’s unparalleled contribution to Bahrain’s socio-economic progress.
Timeline of the Business Continuity Support program
Announced that the reach of the Business Continuity Support program was also expanded to include taxicab drivers, public transport, and bus drivers, driving instructors, and kindergarten and nursery workers. Earlier, the program was limited to only small and microenterprises.
Started accepting applications from small and micro enterprises seeking financial grants. Facilitated the Skiplino application to enable its clients to book appointments virtually.
Began the distribution of financial grants to businesses most adversely affected by the global pandemic, as part of its Business Continuity Support initiative. The Chairman of Labour Fund Tamkeen, His Excellency Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, confirmed the move saying that more than 17,000 applications were received since the application process started in mid-April.
Tamkeen’s Chairman confirmed that only a small percentage out of the 17,000 applicants didn’t qualify for financial grants in the first phase.
New data showed that more than 10,000 small and micro enterprises across Bahrain became beneficiaries of the Business Continuity Support program. Qualified businesses could apply online for partial coverage of their monthly operational expenses. Depending on the number of employees, each of these businesses received between BHD 1,050 and BHD 12,000.
Extended the application window by three days as a relief for small and micro enterprises that started their Business Continuity Support program without completing the rest of their application forms.
Announced that all those COVID affected businesses that didn’t qualify for the Business Continuity program would be given a second chance to apply for financial aid.
The 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome appreciated Tamkeen’s efforts and named Bahrain as one of the world’s top five fastest-growing startup ecosystems with fewer than 1,000 startups.
Announced that financial grants to businesses dealing in sectors most affected by the global pandemic would be doubled. Additionally, taxicab drivers, public transport, and bus drivers, driving instructors, and kindergarten and nursery workers would also benefit from the financial grants for another three months.
Chief Executive of Tamkeen, Dr.Ebrahim Janahi, said “Tamkeen has successfully aided thousands of businesses and professionals to sustain their operations and revenues even through the wide-ranging precautionary measures in place. An additional 1,914 saloons, 393 restaurants and cafes,about 350 travel offices, 205 gyms, and 193 other institutions received financial grants from the labour fund to sustain their operations.”
Here’s what beneficiaries of the program are saying:
Noora Al Haddad – Managing Director of Creo Innovative Solutions
“I’ve benefited from the Business Continuity Support program for three months. The process of requesting support was straight forward and streamlined – Tamkeen’s team has been helpful, responding to support inquiries efficiently. Tamkeen’s Business Continuity program is crucial to the sustainability of micro-enterprises and SMEs in Bahrain during these times.”
Ali Foolath – Captain Burger
“Captain Burger Restaurant received invaluable support from Tamkeen through the Business Continuity Support program. The support received helped in reducing the fixed cost burden on the business. Requesting the support was an easy and smooth process, the process required a brief about the business and how it was affected by COVID-19 prior to the support approval, in addition to documents and receipts outlining our monthly expenses. I can clearly say that the support provided helped my business continue its operations to date.”
Khaled Almoayyed – Managing Director of Almoayyed Creative Agency
It’s not easy to fund all your start-up requirements, so having an entity like Tamkeen is something I’m grateful for. Their programs, including the recently launched Business Continuity Support Program was a blessing as it helped sustain our business during this pandemic. I thank them for the part they played in my career trajectory.