Bahraini companies have achieved $15.5 million in non-oil exports over the past year, it has emerged.
The figure has been reached by more than 30 businesses, which have expanded into 25 overseas markets including the GCC, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, the UK, Morocco, Brazil, Canada and South Korea.
Details were announced yesterday by Export Bahrain, an initiative launched last November to promote the foreign expansion of Bahraini companies.
Export Bahrain chief executive Dr Nasser Ali Qaedi said 42 per cent of Bahraini exporters had reached new markets, resulting in new investment of $9m in their businesses.
“We are not stopping there,” said Dr Ali Qaedi.
“These indicators exemplify the significant business and economic value exporters bring to the national economy, building on their growth potential to reach customers around the world and create new business opportunities and local content that will grow Bahrain’s brand presence internationally.
“We have managed to develop a great deal of traction during our first year of operations with our customers reaching 25 markets across the globe, but have many more exciting plans in the pipeline that will raise the bar even further.
“Export Bahrain is committed to be a key enabler to business internationalisation and support opportunities by continuously building effective partnerships locally and internationally.
“Moving ahead, we will further enhance our efforts to promote national exports and uplift the competitive capabilities of Bahraini businesses in global markets.”
Exporters engaging with Export Bahrain cover nine sectors and 21 product categories, including food, manufacturing, apparel, fibreglass and furniture.
They include farming and food production firm Peninsula Farms, Bean Boat - a platform for coffee farmers - and Gourmet Vanille, which introduced vegan cheese spreads and healthy desserts.
“Export Bahrain is truly an excellent initiative,” said Peninsula Farms general manager Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
“It’s the ideal platform that supports all the entrepreneurs that want to spread their great businesses and initiatives to neighbouring countries and beyond. “
Bean Boat founder Saleh Sharif echoed those views, saying Export Bahrain helped SMEs partner with more farmers to expand capacity.
“Export Bahrain supports us through their export shipment solution, which enabled us to partner with coffee roasters in the UAE, Kuwait, KSA (Saudi Arabia) and hopefully in Europe.
“I don’t think we would have been able to partner with our clients if it wasn’t for the support of Export Bahrain and their initiative to help empower Bahraini businesses export internationally and grow.”
Gourmet Vanille founder Mariam Al Mansoori, who started as a home-based business in 2012, expanded in 2018 with the support of Export Bahrain.
“They have guided me through their market intelligence platforms and advisory solutions, along with quick and effective linkage with buyers in Europe,” she said.
“This support has materialised with buyers and investors interested from Russia.
“I am now also in talks with buyers in other countries around Europe and Asia to expand even further.”
Ms Al Mansoori recently invested over BD25,000 in a new manufacturing workshop in Sanad to expand her operations to meet increased demand. “Export development is a key priority for Bahrain and represents a clear opportunity to expand the footprint of Bahraini businesses internationally by providing the right solutions that will allow businesses of all sizes to tap into a global customer base,” said Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Development Board chairman Zayed Alzayani.
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