Microsoft and Bahrain's CH9 partner for startups
Microsoft to support start-up accelerator CH9 to drive SME sector in Bahrain
Microsoft has partnered with Bahrain start-up accelerator CH9, to support the development of the SME sector in the Kingdom.
The two companies have signed an MoU, for Microsoft to support technology start-ups and provide cloud solutions for start-ups.
As part of its agreement with CH9, Microsoft will co-opt the business accelerator to work with the Microsoft Academic Programs in Bahrain.
CH9 will become an official Microsoft BizSpark Network Partner. BizSpark is a Microsoft initiative aimed at businesses that are within their first five years of operations. Benefits to start-ups include mentorship sessions, best-practice advice and free software.
Under the MoU, CH9 will create a special incubation award for the winner of the Microsoft Bahrain Imagine Cup. The Imagine Cup is a worldwide annual competition held by Microsoft to encourage entrepreneurial spirit among college students.
"SMEs are the lifeblood of Gulf economies and regional incubator and accelerator units, like CH9, play a vital role in nurturing that potential - finding funding and helping start-ups build the momentum needed for long-term success," said Sherif Tawfik, country general manager, Microsoft Bahrain and Oman. "We believe we have a lot to offer these SME ecosystems, by working with organisations like CH9 and bringing strategy and longevity to newly formed businesses. That is why we formed initiatives such as the Imagine Academy, YouthSpark and BizSpark; to identify talent early, help it grow and give it the means to keep going, so it can join the next generation of innovators."
"CH9 was formed to help business flourish and to promote Bahrain as a start-up hub," said Mohamed Altawash, founder and managing director, CH9. "We have access to venture-capital and angel investors; we put business leaders in touch with people that can get them moving on their journey. We provide a platform that supports, teaches, encourages and inspires entrepreneurs. So when we encounter likeminded organisations such as Microsoft - organisations committed to the furtherance of innovation - it makes sense that we join forces and ask, ‘What can we do together, to support these start-ups and the vital role they play in our economy?'"