Tamkeen’s Proactive Steps │ An Introductory Overview
Prisma Reports (PR): Dr Janahi, we know that since your establishment in 2006, Tamkeen has been successfully empowering Bahrainis to become employees of choice, while enabling enterprises in the private sector to become key catalysts of economic growth. Please provide a short introduction into Tamkeen, summarized in key recent milestones/achievements. How would you define the Tamkeen of Today?
Dr. Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi (EMJ): Tamkeen is a national public authority established in 2006, as a catalyst initiative to meet HM King Hamad’s Reform Project. Its key role centers on contributing to the development of the private sector, to make it the engine of the national economic growth.
Tamkeen offers a wide range of support programs to enterprises under various categories of developmental schemes such as: Business Development, Training and Wage Support, as well as Finance Support schemes among many others, aimed at funding start-up, scale-up, and mature businesses.
As part of its effort to nurture vibrant partnerships in human development, Tamkeen has introduced a number of specialized support programs which were designed to leverage their professional skills and increase their competency and sustainable ability to compete in the labor market.
Some of the key Individual Support Programs include: Basic Skills Certifications Scheme, Professional Certifications Scheme, Youth Business Plan Competition “Mashroo3i”, and A9eel project for school students. Tamkeen is committed to its objectives by tapping into different developmental sectors in the Kingdom of Bahrain, looking into new potentials to support generating value-added jobs and investment strands in the Bahraini market. 1. As, the world is moving towards significant economic transformation with an emergent need to meet the needs of new emerging sectors, Tamkeen has taken various support initiatives to meet the development needs of both individuals and enterprises. 2. Tamkeen currently works alongside a number of agencies and organizations in Bahrain to achieve its goals. In addition to this, Tamkeen has its own sector advisory committees encompassing of private sector representatives from each sector to provide Tamkeen with advise and feedback on Tamkeen’s priorities, strategies and projects. So far, over 45 different meetings have been held. Today, Tamkeen has been focused on the customization of products to better tap into segments’ characteristics to achieve the maximum impact possible to its customers.
- To date, Over 200 different initiatives have been launched to serve the needs of individuals and businesses, and more than 160 thousand customers.
- Over BHD 496 million has been spent on the private sector
- Tamkeen has served more than 46 thousand businesses equivalent to 56% of the active commercial registration in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
- More than 65 initiatives have been launched serving businesses.
- More than 140 initiatives have been launched serving individuals.
- Tamkeen served around 40 thousand Bahraini youths through initiatives that aim to develop their skills and provide them with opportunities to unleash their potential and shape their future.
Tamkeen’s strategy of 2015-2017
PR: A discussion into the effectiveness of the strategy in improving quality and creating better customer focus.
EMJ: The current strategy for Tamkeen (2015 – 2017) was developed to support the objectives of Bahrain’s Vision 2030 and has been customized and altered from the previous year to help address and tap into different market needs and requirements. The foundations of the strategy has focused mainly on achieving the following:
1. Quality: Effective and Result Oriented Delivery
2. Customers: Satisfied Customers
3. Results: Enhance productivity and sustainable growth of individuals and businesses
Some of key achievements and impact in light of Tamkeen’s 2015-2017 strategy include:
- As part of the national reform initiatives as well as framework of Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, Tamkeen played an important role in driving economic growth. Since its establishment in 2006, around 10% of the active businesses were served by Tamkeen.
- As part of Tamkeen’s Training and Wage Support Program, an average wage increase of 17% has been witnessed. The scheme provides enterprises with a financial support when hiring Bahraini employees, training them, and/or increasing their salaries. This helps in terms of lowering staffing and training costs for start-ups which in turn should enable them to steadily grow their businesses
- During 2015-2017, Bahrain’s market marks a 28% increase in the total number of commercial registrations, when compared to the previous 3 years. This comes in line with the different reform initiatives aimed at helping spur economic diversification and growth.
Achieving Targeted Growth │ Results
PR: Dr Janahi, we understand that Tamkeen has launched over 200 programs and initiatives focused on areas as funding and financing, skills and career progression, customized employment schemes, and entrepreneurship exposure. How successful have you been in terms of increasing national productivity and value addition?
- Over the past 10 years, Tamkeen has served 56% of all active CRs in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
- 37% of individuals have been served through Tamkeen’s different training initiatives (i.e. Training & Wage Support and the Professional Certification Support Scheme).
- During Tamkeen’s existence, the total number of commercial registrations established during the period of 2006-2014 (9 years) rose to 68,827 from 39,707 in 1997-2005; indicating an increase of 58% in the average number of commercial registrations established.
- Tamkeen’s wage increments contributes to an average increase of 9% in employees’ salaries in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
- For every BHD 1 Tamkeen has spent, companies were able to access BHD 13 for financing solutions in the market.
- When only considering Tamkeen’s employment schemes, Tamkeen generated over 9,000 jobs in the market.
Tamkeen’s Role SME Development in Bahrain
PR: Dr Janahi, in any economy, it is the small and medium sized enterprises that employee the highest proportion of labor, essentially making up a country back bone. How specifically to you engage with and offer assistance to SME’s within the Kingdom?
EMJ: Tamkeen has supported SMEs and businesses through utilizing its three main support tools: grants, financing and advisory. Some of Tamkeen’s main support areas are outlined below.
- Grant Support Solutions through the following: support entrepreneurs, SMEs and businesses to become more resourceful by offering them grants for various areas consultancy services, acquiring and implementing quality standards, marketing, participation exhibitions, purchase of equipment, machinery and purchase of ICT requirements.
Help businesses employ and train new and existing employees through customized sector specific trainings.
o Empower entrepreneurs to be certified in different specialties to be able to obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve business growth.
- Financing Support Scheme; in partnership with partner banks in Bahrain to provide enterprises with cost-effective financing solutions to grow and develop their businesses. Microfinancing is currently being supported by Tamkeen to those small businesses that would otherwise find it difficult to obtain financing, specifically home-based businesses. Tamkeen has recently launched a financing portfolio for women to cater to women entrepreneurs’ financial requirements to set up, grow and sustain their businesses in Bahrain.
- Tamkeen has also launched its advisory services; a platform which provides advisory and consultancy services to businesses in the private sector. This comes as part of Tamkeen’s continuous efforts to support businesses across all stages of development. Through this platform, Tamkeen will provide eligible business owners with relevant guidance and advisory services in collaboration with experts at no cost. Tamkeen’s Advisory Services will include business mentoring, which targets enterprises seeking direction and expert advice to improve and grow their businesses through long-term direct interaction with experienced mentors.
- Other initiatives supporting the entrepreneurship landscape include the Business Incubator & Accelerators Schemes, Business Diversification Scheme…etc.
- Tamkeen also regularly hosts workshops and events for entrepreneurs on topics such as Marketing on a Budget, Social Innovation…etc.
PR: Dr Janahi, while Tamkeen’s mandate circles mainly around developing Bahrainis to allow for their effective competition in the labour market, the purpose of our report is to highlight Bahrain as an increasingly attractive investment destination. Discussion into Tamkeen’s openness to engage and work with international companies that may seek to build a base in Bahrain.
EMJ: As part of its role to develop and support initiatives for potential companies and ventures in Bahrain, Tamkeen supports efforts towards strategic investments by involving major Investments and technology transfer opportunities. Tamkeen aims to serve a broader scale of projects and to maximize the development impact on the economy; therefore, the scheme has also been extended to projects involving domestic investments, provided the proposition is a joint venture with a renowned international player.
Tamkeen’s investment support initiative has encouraged and attracted international enterprises to invest in the country and has contributed to stimulating local investments which mainly promote for Bahrain’s economic development objectives which contributed, along with other efforts, to the growth of the national GDP. Government support in easing and encouraging investments has long term benefits in that it allows for generating added-value employment opportunities, introduction of modern technology, training of higher calibre, adoption of world-wide proved management concepts and knowledge, etc. The keenness of supporting Investments has been maximised in terms of extending Tamkeen’s support and reach to local SMEs which has stirred new ventures and supported employment of Bahrainis across various sectors.
The Person Behind the Plan │ A Personal Journey
PR: Dr Janahi, please elaborate on your considerable past experience both personally and professionally, and how beneficial it has been in fulfilling your current duties as the chief executive of Tamkeen?
ABMAR: Tamkeen’s role as a key driver of economic growth in the country lays great importance on diversification of economy, considering the different sectors in the Kingdom.
My experience in engineering field and knowledge of the industry sector as well as the education sector, especially higher education, gave a great insight towards the key pillars of sustainable development.
Tamkeen is deemed one of the important pillars that pave the way for building a strong start-up ecosystem in the kingdom, and contributing to this crucial economic driver, provided me with an extensive exposure to the essence of an effective ecosystem with great emphasis on human resources as partners in development with an attention given to the non-oil sector promoting sustainable growth in the private sector.
We are keen on focusing our ambition in meeting the strategic goals of Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, which clearly outlines its aspirations in shifting the country’s economy from depending only on oil wealth to a productive, globally competitive economy, driven by a pioneering private sector.