Bahrain’s, conducive to doing business?

The Bahrain Investors Centre in Seef Mall, the out-dated model for doing business.

Got to get this off my chest. I want to start a new company specialising in offering web solutions. No big deal, I hear you say, and you’re right and am in total agreement with you, as this particular activity is prevalent and school kids of all ages are very capable of offering such service and some have even made a goodly amount of money for their minimal trouble.

Alas, this is not the idea with our illustrious Bahraini government. To them, if one wants to create websites, one needs to have a bachelor’s degree (I presume in a related field) first. And they won’t even allow the investor to circumvent that by ensuring that whomever he hires are at the required level.

As my qualifications falls short of that mark; me merely qualified as a maintenance engineer on aircraft like Boeing and Airbus jetliners, in addition to being a qualified commercial pilot with multi-engine and instruments rating, I’ve been sent packing by the Bahrain Investors Centre.

I guess I can apply for a Samboosa shop license now and offer web services through it.

Talk about business friendly Bahrain. Ludicrous.

  • ahmed kaiksow
    27 February 2011

    Don’t feel too bad, Mahmood: Bill Gates wouldn’t get a license either; he doesn’t qualify because he never even finish a bachelor’s.

    • mahmood
      27 February 2011


      this country is very frustrating and for stupid little things too.

    • Johnster
      27 February 2011

      and he started his business in a garage. Here you need a registered commercial office with a blue plaque and municipalities number

  • Anita
    27 February 2011

    That is ridiculous, I can understand your frustration! šŸ™

  • peacefulmuslimah
    27 February 2011

    That makes no sense! Why should the government care if you have a Bachelor degree for an IT operation when there are so many training courses that are more relevant. I understand it if you wanted to open a medical clinic and they wanted to make sure your doctors and nurses had degrees, or a school and they were requiring all teachers to have degrees, but IT???

    Besides, what does the degree have to do with having the money to open a business?

    Good luck with this one.

  • Salman Abdulrahim
    27 February 2011

    They should have also whacked the Minister of Commerce. He is a relic of the past and looks like it too. That would have been a more appropriate portfolio for the now awkwardly placed Kamal Ahmed !!!

  • Anonny
    27 February 2011

    Certain categories of business are restricted now also, I think. I’m not sure it would have been possible to open up an audio media company myself if I’d stayed in Bahrain. More than 2 decades in Bahrain and the region doing all kinds of audio media when so few people even knew what it was, and some graduate with the right passport is preferred over me – even though he/she may have no clue or talent.

    Not the most uplifting of life stories, I know, but I haven’t let this destroy me or my love for Bahrain šŸ™‚ It’s still my favourite place in the world. [fond wave across the water]

  • Desert Island Boy
    27 February 2011

    Business friendly in most places is code for
    1. Low tax rates
    2. Even lower compliance enforcement rates
    3. Near absent regulatory frameworks

    In Bahrain, it usually means, we are friendly to the businesses to the ones we want to be friendly to.

    It would have made more sense to require adequate insurance or even bonding.

    Actually, for a web solutions company, wouldn’t things like SQL or JAVA or Microsoft certifications be more relevant? And none of those require a college degree.

    I’m all for a government body certifying the validity of any service offered to the public at-large, and the credibility of the person offering it, but do it in a way that actually validates those things!

  • anon
    28 February 2011

    well, it all goes back to work permits and what we call “Free visa” locally. they want to make sure that whoever is applying for licenses want to run a real business not just a way to get few work permits and sell them in the black market. or they just think this way they are giving more opportunities to graduates

  • Desert Island Boy
    28 February 2011

    You’ve hit on a point here – it’s a rather ham-handed way of increasing “opportunities” for unemployed college graduates.

    If anyone asked me, I would have said you’re better off funding an apprentice program. Graduates get work experience and some polish. Along the way they pick up some business contacts that are the bedrock of any new business.

    Mahmood might not have the degree, but he has proven expertise which should count for something. Along with a brand. I can’t understand why there can’t be an exemption mechanism for someone like that.

    Of the many ways that you can reduce “barriers to entry” in any industry, eliminating potential competition is the lazy, short-sighted way of doing it. Especially in a do-or-die, sink-or-swim creative economy pursuit, the better option is to encourage collaboration.

  • Mohammed
    28 February 2011

    Not a big deal Mahmood , you need 4 years to get your Bsc degree in Computer Science … do your homework šŸ˜

  • Da Rebel
    28 February 2011

    There are many potential businesses that cannot get started because the authorities impose restrictions on who may start the company. Certain criteria are ‘for Bahrainis only’ and an expat can’t get a permit to even open a business, or at least without a Bahraini partner. With the problems that getting a partner who won’t screw you sometime in the future or just take all the profits and mark you down with a travel ban, this is not very ‘business friendly.’
    I just can’t comprehend why the playing field isn’t open and level. On one hand I applaud the moves to get more Bahrainis into work. However, by restricting the potential for growth and development of new companies by any members of society, the government is limiting the chances of companies forming and thus employing more Bahrainis. At least those who want to work and who don’t want to rely on handouts.
    Level the playing field and let anyone who wants to start a business, have a go. They will sink or swim according to their merits, same as in the rest of the world. Artificial restrictions don’t do anyone any good.

    Just my 2c

  • Bedoon Esam
    6 March 2011

    The Investors Centre doesn’t even know what a BSc Degree in Computer Science looks like…you know you are competent you have a biz plan you have the capital and you willing to start the business….You say the Ministry Stopped you coz u dont have a BSc, well why did you tell them you dont have one, how they gonna check??? You should said ” Ohh I didn’t know you needed copy of my BSc, let me go back and get you a copy” and of you go back to your PC rip off a cut and paste job on BSC Degree print your name on it take the copy back to Investors Centre and get your CR simple…
    You are glutton for punishment why did you tell them the truth they dont know difference between an original and a photocopy create a degree in Powerpoint and go get your CR.

    I bet you this will work. They will never check.

A day of mourning.