Unbound Bahrain, an annual corporate innovation festival, was held at Bahrain National Theatre on March 6 and 7 with a series of cutting edge keynotes, panel discussions and pitch competitions.
Over 3,000 startups, investors and businesses in AI, blockchain, digital wellbeing, energy, fintech, investment and sustainability took part in Unbound Bahrain 2019.
A press release said that this year’s festival was the biggest yet and was composed of 35% corporates and brand executives, 35% founders and entrepreneurs, 15% digital and media agencies, 5% government and trade agencies, 5% investors and 5% journalists.
The event, which celebrates global innovation, was the anchor of Startup Bahrain Week which is under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB).
Unbound Bahrain provided regional and international entrepreneurs with unique networking opportunities, workshops and speaker sessions that gave unique insights into the latest in tech innovation.
Some of the key speakers this year included Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB); Chris Rogers, partner, Lumia Capital; Wael Attili, creative founder, Kharabeesh; Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park; and Leena Al Olaimy, founder, Diversity on Board
A number of initiatives took place this year including pitches to investors, The Female Founders challenge, Flat6Labs demo day and ask the VC. Workshops included the BIBF Technopreneurship Workshop and STSChain.
The event took place in conjunction with StartUp Bahrain Week, a community-led festival that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation connecting attendees from around the world.
"The event takes place as the corporate innovation model taking hold in the MENA region over recent years gathers pace with corporations venturing into the startup realm to find solutions to an ever changing marketplace.
Major international and regional corporate tech players such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Zain and CrediMax partnered with the event to meet with and hopefully build relationships with early emerging market players," the release stated.
AWS held the MENA Startup Battle competition attracting hundreds of applications across the region with heats taking place in Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. 12 startups were selected for the finals where Statys, a fintech startup that reduces the cost of risk assessment for banks and other lenders, was announced as the winner.
Speaking about UnboundFounder and CEO Daniel Seal said, “This year we welcomed over 100 successful startups and 3,000 attendees, nearly double the number from last year to network and gain insights into how to do business through our unique workshops. Thank you to the EDB for giving us the opportunity to do business in Bahrain and highlight one of MENA’s most promising ecosystems. It’s been another successful year for Unbound Bahrain, highlighting its ability to become a global tech hub for the MENA region. Long may it continue.”