10 Jan 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 10 January 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, participated in the first Tamkeen Conference and Exhibition which end earlier this week (ed note: 08/01/13) at the Gulf Hotel.

The event was organised as part of Tamkeen’s efforts to support the private sector and empower Bahrainis to become employees of choice. Ithmaar’s participation in the two day event is in line with the Bank’s long standing commitment to playing a real and meaningful role in the local community.

“Tamkeen has an exceptionally wide range of initiatives to support both establishments and citizens of Bahrain. To date, more than 66,000 Bahrainis and enterprises have benefited from Tamkeen’s initiatives – and plans are in place to raise the total number of beneficiaries to 100,000,” said Tamkeen Chief Executive Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji. “This comprehensive event provides entrepreneurs, business owners, the private sector, and Bahraini society at large an opportunity to see, first-hand, how Tamkeen can enable them to build their capabilities and achieve their potential,” he said.

“As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar recognises the important role it must play in supporting the development of the local community,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei. “This is a responsibility we take very, very seriously and are delighted to be able to support this first of its kind event which aims to support start-ups, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the national workforce,” he said.

The event showcases how the various Tamkeen programmes have impacted the business projects of participants and stimulated their growth, and allows visitors to sign up for or learn more about Tamkeen programmes that support both enterprises and Bahrainis across all sectors.

The exhibition also includes an “Achievements Wall” that showcases Tamkeen’s most important achievements and milestones since its establishment in 2006. Parallel to the exhibition, the event includes a conference that focuses on Tamkeen’s achievements and the role of entrepreneurship and the private sector in advancing economic development. It also included workshops led by prominent experts discussing best international practices for key topics such as marketing strategies, quality assurance systems, use of social media, efficient participation in exhibitions, ways to apply to e-tenders, basics of entrepreneurship success and sound strategic planning.

“Tamkeen’s contributions to the development of Bahrain’s national economy by supporting both enterprises and individuals are truly remarkable and, by any measure, exceptionally impressive,” said Bucheerei. “The private sector, however, also has an important role to play in supporting Tamkeen’s initiatives and we must all work together to help realise our collective goal of developing our great nation,” he said.

Ithmaar was one of the very first banks in Bahrain to support Tamkeen’s initiatives of providing accessible low-cost financing for SMEs. Tamkeen’s Enterprise Financing Scheme portfolio currently stands at BD210 million. Nearly 5,000 enterprises have benefited from this programme to date, including over 1,000 start-ups.

Working with Tamkeen, Ithmaar Bank, through its then wholly-owned subsidiary Shamil Bank, provided in 2007 the ground-breaking Nibras SME Financing Scheme. The scheme, which was expanded after its early success, has since served as a blueprint for current Tamkeen-supported financing offerings with other banks in Bahrain.

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