MANAMA: The first payment of the second phase of Tamkeen’s Business Continuity Programme (BCP) to support sectors most adversely affected by the global pandemic has been issued to businesses and aims to also support those not included in the first phase.

The announcement by Tamkeen head of partnerships and market engagement Ahmed Janahi came during an online interview conducted by the Economic Development Board head of start-ups Pakiza Abdulrahman.

Mr Janahi said, “Tamkeen’s priorities have changed since March. Alongside national efforts led by the government, Tamkeen launched the BCP. The purpose has always been to help companies stay afloat and maintain their employees. Recently, following the directives from HRH the Crown Prince, we have increased the budget and expanded the scope.

“The second phase focuses on businesses that remain closed including sports clubs, gymnasiums, beauty salons, restaurants and cafes, training institutes and travel and tourism offices.”

As the GDN previously reported, the second phase started on July 16. Tamkeen aims to help shut-down businesses “operate normally despite being shut down,” according to Mr Janahi. The funds received from Tamkeen can be used to cover operational costs, including salaries and rent, and the second phase is expected to end in October.

Mr Janahi also announced that Tamkeen is liaising with government entities including the liquidity fund to identify the best way to businesses not covered by the BCP. Portfolios are being set up to support such businesses including kindergartens and events management companies.

In addition to the financial support offered to small and micro enterprises focusing on the most adversely affected sectors, Tamkeen also plans to offer non-financial aid in the form of advisory services to help businesses adapt to the “new normal.”

Mr Janahi added, “In addition to the financial support, we have seen that consumer behaviour may change in the near future which would affect the market.

“Our business advisory services will provide business owners and entrepreneurs with access to resources and expertise on Bahrain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as innovation and market trends in the global economy.

“Business models have changed because of the pandemic. As a result, entrepreneurs have to explore how to do more business using ICT (information and communications technology). We have great examples of start-ups that are employing ICT that have been faring well during the pandemic.

“Another trend that we are seeing globally and regionally is the mergers and acquisitions of specific lines of businesses to be able to complement each other, and the creation of the right alliances to be able to continue operations during this time. One example I have heard of recently, is that of certain gyms that are trying to form an alliance to allow customers to share a membership across multiple gyms.”

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