When we first met Ahmed Sawafiri during our Mix N’ Mentor event in Manama in May of this year, he was preparing content for the launch of the third issue of Startup Bahrain, the first monthly interactive tablet magazine in the Gulf's smallest country.
Now, he's released the seventh issue of the
fresh publication, serving up a mix of international success
stories, profiles of local entrepreneurs, and tutorial pieces. The
magazine, in general, is designed to fill a gap for local startup
media coverage in Bahrain, but, with a fun, interactive layout, it
sets a standard for a regional iPad or mobile startup-focused
Each issue offers entrepreneurs five sections that reveal a range of perspectives on entrepreneurship: Features, Bahrain, Advice, Resources and Worldwide, which, all together, merge fun with a good read. In its latest issue, the magazine offers up the same mix, this time focusing on how successful Bahraini entrepreneurs manage to pursue their dreams and drive their startup to regional and global success. Here's a look at what it covers:
- Local support
organizations. In the features section, Sawafiri pens
an in-depth interview with Mahmoud Al-Yousif, President of
Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), that reveals how the platform
encourages Bahraini entrepreneurs to share experiences while
learning how to grow and sustain their businesses. The article
highlights Al-Yousif's personal assets, and the opportunities the
program offers, while giving an honest look at the internal
challenges EO is facing.
He also takes a look at Tamkeen’s latest initiatives to support small entreprises, describing how it helps productive families grow their businesses, by covering the cost and setup of a kiosk in main Bahraini malls. For such a local story, it's potentially a model to be replicated regionally.
- Tools. The
magazine also offers a quick look at five essential tools for voice
and data, online presence, electronic messaging and cloud services.
Since the number of home-based businesses are on a rise in Bahrain,
partly incentivized by the Bahraini government, these tools can
help startups launch effectively.
- Local startups.
in the "Bahrain" section, StartupBahrain delves
into two major success
stories are covered; Annada, a luxury lifestyle brand and Mahi Mahi
a fish restaurant. Both articles discuss business models adopted,
challenges faced and improvements needed in Bahrain. The Annada
story features how two Bahraini sisters managed to produce
luxurious scarves designed by regional artists and manufactured
locally, discussing their believes in the needs of Bahraini women
and the market.
- Advice. In its
latter half, StartupBahrain offers advice, revealing four common
approaches to getting funding while bootstrapping, like applying
for government grants, building partnerships, and crowdfunding; it
also offers tips on choosing a brand’s name.
successes. The last section, true to StartupBahrain's
goal of inspiring entrepreneurs, tells the story of an
international success, profiling Adel Ali, the man behind Air
Arabia, the first low fare airline in the Middle East, and Just
Falafel, an international food and beverage chain based in
Focusing on how this Bahraini initiative went regional, Ali's profile tells the story of how a man who doesn't even enjoy traveling pioneered the first airline of its kind in the region offering low budget airfair. The story shows how his ambition and enthusiasm guided him while building a company focused on his customers' needs.
- A fun interface. In addition to having good content, the app is simply fun to use, thanks to its friendly interface. It's interactive without being cluttered. While it uses standard navgiation, like swiping to turn pages, and scrolling up and down, it also offers fun add-ons like a hamburger that can be spun around, on the cover of the April issue; these cute interactive features, nicely incorporated in the content, making the reading experience very enjoyable.