C5 Accelerate, working with Amazon Web Services and the Bahrain Economic Development Board and Tamkeen, to provide boost for entrepreneurs across the region
C5 Accelerate Limited, the London- and Bahrain-based technology investment specialist, working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), today launched the first Cloud Accelerator in the Middle East and Africa, which will be located in Bahrain.
The Cloud Accelerator aims to drive growth in the local and regional business ecosystem by enabling the rapid adoption of cloud technology, which offers many distinct advantages over traditional IT infrastructure. The program will develop and fund businesses from across the region with a focus on technologies that align with the economic priorities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including, but not limited to, manufacturing, financial services and technology sector-development.
The Cloud Accelerator will provide business with resources to develop a cloud-based commercial strategy, enhancing their ability to attract future investment. A cohort of up to ten qualifying businesses will be invited to work from the Cloud Accelerator premises in Bahrain for four months. During this time, they will benefit from interaction with fellow program participants, training in strategy and business principles, and mentoring from C5 Accelerate and its network of global business leaders.
AWS will further support each of the participants with established programs including AWS Activate, AWS Grants, AWS Training and Certification, and developer-level support, which have been designed to support businesses developing on the AWS Cloud.
The businesses will benefit from connectivity with potential customers, guidance from industry experts and the opportunity to work closely with a network of corporate partners which will provide a range of business assistance across areas such as commercialisation, venture funding, and business services.
Participant businesses will be eligible for funding from the Cloud Accelerator's USD 100 million allied venture capital fund, the Gulf Technology Corporation, which will be managed by C5.
Daniel Freeman, CEO of C5 Accelerate Limited, said: "The Middle East and Africa region has a burgeoning startup scene and is well placed to leverage the potential of the cloud. Our Cloud Accelerator aims to drive this innovation further and boost the region's economy. Our "AWS Activate" pilot program in Bahrain already demonstrates the investment potential of the region's technology sector, and we are thrilled to be working with AWS, a leading cloud computing provider, to develop an innovation hub for the region and a catalyst for further investments. The Cloud Accelerator will be based in Bahrain, a location with outstanding human capital and a commitment to operating at the speed of technology when it comes to developing a world-class environment in which technology entrepreneurs can thrive."
Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services, Inc. said: "We've been so impressed with the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of businesses in the Middle East and Africa, and are committed to working with C5 and the Bahrain EDB to help these businesses grow and scale. In addition to technology resources, the Cloud Accelerator's focus on education, training, and mentorship will help businesses reach their full potential, and AWS is excited to work with them to do so."
Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: "The GCC technology sector is expected to grow by ten per cent per annum over the next five years, whilst sector spending in the Middle East will reach nearly $200 billion in 2015. However, the region faces a number of challenges around attracting investment in the technology sector, including start-up costs and access to funding; regulatory barriers; and attracting, training and retaining human capital. Bahrain is addressing these challenges and building on its broader strengths to develop a strong ecosystem that encourages technology focused entrepreneurship. The launch of the Cloud Accelerator program is one important step towards achieving this."
Amal Kooheji, Tamkeen's Chief Operating Officer, said : "Tamkeen continues to support businesses and startups as a catalyst for entrepreneurial innovation and to encourage the establishment of new businesses, which is a prerequisite for developing a mature and sustainable private sector in modern economies. This project will play a role in creating a cloud ecosystem in Bahrain that becomes an engine of economic growth, innovation and enhanced global competitiveness.