• Fatema Ebrahim

Bahrain, a FinTech ecosystem for women

Updated: Jan 14

As the FinTech market continues to grow, so does the opportunity for women in FinTech in Bahrain. Let’s start with some facts about the women in the ecosystem as a whole.

According to the Bahrain FinTech Bay 2018 FinTech Talent report Survey - 70% of female respondents from a business or STEM - related academic backgrounds were interested in pursuing a role linked to FinTech. A few months ago, the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) produced by StartUp Genome in association with Global Entrepreneurship Congress names Bahrain as the country with the highest share of female founders. More specifically, nearly one out of five homegrown startups (18%) active in Bahrain today were founded by females. 39% of the total Bahraini workforce made up of female employees in financial services industries. Women also comprise 33.2% of the Bahraini managerial positions in the Financial Sector in 2018, according to the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Inline with the FinTech market thriving in the Kingdom, several initiatives have been created to encourage women.

Let’s talk about the Women in FinTech Bahrain Initiative that started with a mission to encourage and support women’s involvement and development in the FinTech landscape. There are several women in Bahrain driving innovation in finance and making headway in the FinTech world, and the initiative will fill the gap by representing them, their personal experience and their achievements so it can make it easierfor other women to relate, collaborate and achieve more.

This year, the first scientific women’s hackathon, which aimed to encourage competition and innovation, was held by the Supreme Council for Women (SCW) in cooperation with the Bahrain Polytechnic titled “Challenge and Innovation”.

Bahrain has several women practitioners involved in the FinTech ecosystem. Let’s look at a few names from a regulatory, startup, educational and practitioner standpoint.

Yasmeen Al Sharaf heads Central Bank of Bahrain’s Fintech and Innovation Unit; which is a

dedicated FinTech & Innovation Unit to ensure that best services are provided to individual and corporate customers in the financial services sector by encouraging an agile regulatory framework that fosters FinTech and innovation.

Shanthini Raja, Founder and Chief Executive of Rsquare Technologies dubbed as the Technology Superwoman creates user-friendly software, such as cheque printing, human resource management systems (HRMS) and form printing, which is tailored specifically to suit the requirements of businesses in the Gulf.

Marwa Aleskafi is the Head of IoT Program, MENA - Brinc.io. Marwa mentors startups on market and business development including maximizing the utilization of available technology resources. In addition, she teaches entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation in the University of Bahrain and conducts training on design thinking for entrepreneurship and technological innovation for corporations.

Sandra Knight is the COO of Haya Tech; a Bahrain based B2B, Software as a Service (SAAS) and connected hardware platform that aims to build an ecosystem around wellness. The startup was selected by Seed Stars as one of the most promising startups from MENA. Sandra has previously worked as a healthcare software developer and instructional designer at John Hopkins Aramco Healthcare and championed company-wide wellness initiatives.

Follow the Women in FinTech Initiative Bahrain channels online to find out more.

#fintech #womeninfintech


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