By Sherif Tawfik, Microsoft Country Manager for Bahrain and Oman
Start-ups and SMEs are considered by many to be the engine of the economy, driving employment and innovation. In the Middle East, many young entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity to improve civil society by developing start-ups that address key issues, so it makes sense that we encourage growth in this sector.
One of the key ways to do this is to ensure start-ups and SMEs have access to the technology they need, especially during their early stages.
This is especially necessary given that a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) showed that tech-savvy SMEs grew revenues 15% faster. Not only does technology allow them to keep up with their larger and global counterparts, but it allows them to be flexible in the way they work.
That’s why we were excited to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tamkeen and Gulf Future Business in Bahrain. The MoU marked the launch of the Tamkeen Productivity Toolkit initiative, which provides Bahraini start-ups with support from collaborative technologies, as well as they skills they need to grow their businesses.
At the core of Tamkeen’s vision is a commitment to supporting businesses through their developmental stages, so that they have the opportunity to grow. That’s why we felt partnering with them was ideal because we have the technology and expertise to help with this growth.
With this in mind, we are offering beneficiaries of the Tamkeen Enterprise Support Programme a three-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium. We will also provide them with implementation, training and ongoing support services.
Office 365 is ideal for start-ups and SMEs because it gives them the opportunity to be more productive with enterprise-level technology in the cloud that they can access from any device, anywhere. Not only does this make it more affordable, but it also makes collaboration easier, which is key for the success of any business. For example, with Office 365 Planner, teams can create shared plans, organise and assign tasks, set due dates and update the status of the project from wherever they are working.
Office 365 Groups give you a shared workspace for email, conversations, files and calendar events, and co-authoring allows teams to collaborate on one document at the same time -and see exactly where each team member is working and what they are writing, keystroke by keystroke.
Entrepreneurs who develop start-ups already have the drive to succeed, but after that initial burst of energy it takes hard work to continue the momentum. Having access to the right technology will help Bahraini start-ups and SMEs to continue on their journey to success and scaling up as they boost the kingdom’s economy and global competitiveness.
For more information on the MoU we signed with Tamkeen and Gulf Future Business, click here.