Mahmood Alkooheji at Mashroo3i Awards Ceremony
The finale of the inaugural “Mashroo3i” Youth Business Plans Competition was held at the Kempinksi Hotel on Saturday (July 14). The pioneering initiative, which was launched by Tamkeen earlier this year, seeks to promote entrepreneurial culture among the local youth. The initiative, which targets 16 to 23 year old Bahrainis, comes as part of Tamkeen’s human capital development programmes, which aim to develop the skills and capabilities of Bahrainis in the private sector and increase their contribution to Bahrain’s economic development, in accordance with Vision 2030.
After a hotly contested competition which saw 25 teams shortlisted to the final round from a total of 60, the finalists showcased their business prototypes in front of the public in a three-day exhibition at Bahrain City Center The public also got to vote for their favorite business idea through the competition Facebook page, which received more than 7,000 votes in total.
Tamkeen’s Chief Executive Mahmood Hashem Al-Kooheji delivered an address in which he expressed his appreciation for the tremendous effort of the participating teams and praised their innovative ideas, saying, “Your dedication and perseverance have set an example for your peers. The sheer number and diversity of the projects submitted has exceeded our expectations.”
Al-Kooheji further noted that the outpour of interest in the competition is proof that Bahrain is rich with innovative ideas and young talents who want to further develop and be productive members of society; something which bodes well for Bahrain’s future.
In addition, Al-Kooheji stressed that Tamkeen continues to focus on youth-oriented support programmes, which range from training opportunities to access to capital targeting over 30,000 young Bahrainis. As a whole, the programmes present a comprehensive range of solutions which enable young Bahrainis to face labour market challenges and make them the employees of choice. He also noted Tamkeen’s commitment to utilise modern channels to present these initiatives in such a way that speaks to today’s youth.
Al-Kooheji also commented that Tamkeen uses a two-pronged approach in these programmes to ensure their comprehensiveness; firstly, by launching its own initiatives such as “Mashroo3i”, “A9eel” Work Ethics campaign, Discover Life @ Work, or the Business Start-up Support Scheme, among others; and the second being the ongoing collaboration with youth organisations from the public and private sectors such as GOYS, inJAz Bahrain and the Ministry of Education, thus galvanising the youth empowerment initiatives and enhancing their impact.
Following his address, Tamkeen’s Chief Executive was joined by Ministry of Education Undersecretary Sh. Hisham bin Abdulaziz Al Khalifa to present the “Mashroo3i” Awards, starting with certificates of appreciation to the competition’s judging panel and team of mentors who coached the participants in how to present their ideas in the best way possible.
This was followed with the unveiling of the winning teams as chosen by the judging panel and the public. Certificates of appreciation were handed out to the teams who won the 7 individual categories, while the top 3 overall teams also received medals and prizes. The winners were:
- Best Business Plan: Epiphany
- Best Business Model Innovation: Tods & Tads
- Best Marketing, Sales and Promotion: Must Graphics
- Best Product / Service Design: Al Danah
- Most Responsible Business: The Job
- Best Product / Service Innovation: Manual Griller
- Most Charismatic Entrepreneur: Asmaa Al Oud (Print Me)
- 1st Place: Must Graphics
- 2nd Place: Print Me
- 3rd Place: Epiphany
Participants hailed the Mashroo3i initiative which provided Bahrain’s youth with the opportunity to unleash their creativity and ingenuity, and equip them with the necessary skills to thrive as entrepreneurs.
Asmaa Hassan Al Oud and her business idea Print Me, a specialist food photography studio, said, “Being chosen Most Charismatic and taking home the second place prize is a beautiful dream that has come true. My idea started a hobby where I would photograph food that my sister prepares and then upload them on Facebook. The positive feedback from the public during the exhibition in City Center has truly been amazing, with potential investors and customers expressing their interest in my business, which I believe is the only one of its kind in Bahrain.”
She further remarked that the reception from the public and the judging panel encouraged her to pursue her idea, in which she will use the learnings she gained from the competition – such as business plan writing and how to deal with customers – to complement her formal education in visual design at Bahrain Polytechnic.
University of Bahrain classmates, and First Place and Best Marketing category Mohammed Mustafa and Mohammed Mustafa, noted that their shared name inspired the name of their start-up, Must Graphics, an innovative marketing and promotional solutions provider. The co-founders said their achievement is the fruit of long months of hard work and valuable oversight from their mentor. “Winning has only served to further fuel our desire to pursue our dream and establish this company said after graduation,” they said.
The pair advised their fellow budding entrepreneurs in Bahrain to never give up, to make their business idea in an area they actually like, and finally to believe in themselves and their colleagues.
Over the next phase, Tamkeen plans to select the most lucrative and market-ready ideas, and support them through its programmes with the aim of turning them into viable operational enterprises.