The death of entrepreneurship in Bahrain

9 Feb, '17

a truckful of unread, undistributed entrepreneurship magazines

I arrived at my office this morning at my regular time to be faced with this truck parked just outside. I suspect that the truck’s destination is a recycling plant.

What struck me wasn’t the industry of the workers or that paper recycling is a bona fide operation in Bahrain, what did was the picture I was faced with. I thought it was an indication of the state we are in on multi-facetted levels.

Consider this: the magazine bundles are clearly just as they have been received from a printer, unopened, undistributed and unread. The inference here is that we as a community do not read.

Second: the magazine in question is targeted toward entrepreneurs. Its website describes it as follows: “Rowad magazine aims at being not only a magazine, but a reference tool for entrepreneurs locally and regionally with a vision to reach international platforms. The magazine offers insight on entrepreneurship across all industries which include ; ICT, Arts, Health & Fitness, Film Industry just to name a few.” It is abundantly clear that it’s not benefiting any of its promised targets. It is simply destined to a recycling plant – one hopes – and thus doing more good for the environment than the minds it was hoping to enrich. I can’t help but think if this yet another indication of the death of entrepreneurship in Bahrain.

Third: Print is dead. I honestly don’t know why anyone bothers to print anything any more, especially papers and magazines. We need trees more than useless paper that’s ultimately going to be tossed out. Most information is better provided electronically for obvious reasons, the least of which is searchability and protection and sustainability of the environment.

This was a quite interesting start of my day. One that clearly exposed several elephants in the room, particularly in Bahrain:

  1. Reading is not high on our priority list,
  2. Entrepreneurship here is in dire straights. The majority of “schemes” thrown at it won’t bring it back to life. Tamkeen, in particular, is not working and needs to be shut down. I have come to realise now that Tamkeen is the worst thing that has happened to business and entrepreneurship in Bahrain. It is superficial at best and a Darwinian culling of businesses large and small is the best for the future of this country.
  3. Thirdly, businesses here need to divorce themselves from print media. The utter crap that is being printed in this country is mind-boggling. When magazines exist simply to sell ads and not provide real and valuable content, when magazines’ main contribution is society pictures and pages, it is best to shut them down. Even the Internet doesn’t deserve this crap. Invest your advertising dollars in proper digital marketing and CSR schemes that benefits the community, rather than continue to prop up a dying and completely unnecessary industry.

Good morning and make it a great day!

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Comments (4)

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  1. Sharaf. says:

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head Mahmood : we are usually a decade behind the rest of the world when it comes to education, sustainable development, ethical trade, pphilanthropy and caring for the environment. By the way Mahmood :there is no such thing as recycling here in Bahrain : we don’t have a genuine recycling plant in the kingdom.

    • mahmood says:

      There is one that recycles plastics Sharaf. I believe it is owned by Majed Almajed and has a contract with the Ministry of Health to recycle their waste. As to paper, I know that it is collected and then shipped to India and other locations for processing.

      We do our part and recycle our waste (paper, plastic, glass and metal) every Friday at one of the recycling locations in our area. The best is by Saar cinema.

  2. arie de reus says:

    It could be something different perhaps. In the Netherlands, where i live, people , mostly students, who want to earn something extra deliver magazines and other stuf. Sometimes when nobody is looking and the person in question is lazy and dishonest the magazines are dumped in a way you show on the picture. To avoid this behaviour most deliver persons must have and app linked to gps to show the round they have walked, as proof. Have a nice day, (snowing here at the moment and freezing:(

    • mahmood says:

      Yes, I’ve seen this happen to those ads they distribute on cars for instance, and of course as in this case, with magazines and there is an inordinate amount of them in Bahrain – most I bet remain unread.

      Enjoy the cold. It’s actually raining as I type this in Bahrain!

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