October 14, 2020updated 28 Jan 2022 11:12am

Three Simple Steps to Setting Up Your Business in the Heart of the Gulf

With entrepreneur-friendly policies, a growing pool of skilled talent and easy access to the $1.5trn Gulf market, Bahrain is the ideal location to set up a start-up or a scale-up – and it couldn’t be easier to get going.

According to the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report, it takes just eight days to get off the ground in the Kingdom – much less than the regional average of 20 days. Here at Bahrain EDB, we have built a dedicated tool of three steps to set up operations in various sectors. To make things even easier, we have pulled together details of each stage of the set-up process and start-up costs that are worth bearing in mind while setting up in Bahrain – and how we can help at every step of the way.

What does it cost to start a start-up in Bahrain?

The Kingdom not only offers major benefits for start-ups in the shape of pro-entrepreneur policies, advanced hard and soft infrastructure, and a thriving ecosystem but also a cost of doing business that is 30% lower than other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Rental rates for commercial property are considerably more affordable than nearby nations, while ICT and utility providers offer good value to business customers.

What is more, Bahrain offers 100% foreign ownership in most industries, with no restrictions on repatriation of capital, profits and dividend income.

Various licenses and approvals are required to start up, but the process is simple and efficient, with minimal costs, generally totalling less than US$500 (BHD190, excluding initial capital requirements and physical office address fees) – we have outlined some of these below.

Additionally, the Kingdom’s labour fund, Tamkeen, offers assistance to all active enterprises registered and licensed in Bahrain in the form of subsidies, grants and wage support.

What are the steps to establishing a start-up in Bahrain?

Getting up and running here is simple, and there are just three easy steps: preparing the required documents, obtaining initial licences and receiving final approvals.

Use Bahrain EDB’s business set-up tool to determine which documents you need, and get in touch with us if you need any assistance in initiating the process.

This might include passport copies, draft articles of association, and key information about yourself and the company, such as names, IDs, share capital, business activity and contact details. The requirements do vary depending on the business activity and ownership structure, so make sure to check using the tool.

Generally, the required minimum share capital for a limited liability company is BD50 per share, depending on the number of shareholders, legal structure and business activity requirement.

After preparing the documents, it is time to obtain licences and permissions. There are two stages here. The first – company registration without a licence – takes approximately five days, allowing for the rental of space and bank account applications without starting operations. Adding on time for a licence, the total time is approximately 14 working days (depending on the type of business activity being applied for) with the first step being preliminary approval from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (US$132/BHD50).

After the approvals are granted, the company’s memorandum of association needs to be notarised at a cost of approximately US$80/BHD30. Once this is completed, it is possible to open a bank account, deposit your start-up capital of US$132/BHD50 or more, allowing you to activate the commercial registration. Then, it is time to register the company and employees free of charge with the General Organisation for Social Insurance. And that is it – your business is off the ground.

Who can help me to start up a business in Bahrain?

Here at Bahrain EDB, we are readily available to provide information and guide you through your journey to invest in the Kingdom. We work with companies all the way through the set-up process and beyond, providing:

  • a dedicated account manager
  • guidance and information to support the decision-making process
  • support in all aspects to speed up the set-up process
  • ongoing aftercare support to aid businesses in development and expansion
  • assistance with access to grants and assistance with company registration
  • engagement across government to help develop business-friendly policies.
  • events and meetings designed to foster the business community.

Accelerators and incubators from across the ecosystem act as an ideal landing pad for start-ups, giving them access to potential partners and angel investors – helping them set up a company in no time.

Additionally, several third-party professional services organisations can also help with the financial and legal requirements of establishing a start-up and we are happy to discuss this with you. At Bahrain EDB, our team of experts are readily available to help answer your questions and guide you through the process of setting up in order to ensure your experience in Bahrain is a smooth and successful one.

Free Whitepaper

Bahrain start-up costs: The simple steps to setting up your business in the Kingdom

Every start-up business is looking for a location with a combination of factors that will enable it to establish itself quickly and efficiently; where the regulatory system is conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship; a place where new, disruptive ideas will be nurtured and supported, and where they will have the space to grow and, ultimately, blossom.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has strived to create an ecosystem in which start-ups can positively thrive. This white paper will look at how young, affluent and technologically adept Bahrainis offer start-ups a small but perfectly formed market; why Bahrain’s location in the Gulf makes it ideal for nascent businesses; and how Tamkeen, Bahrain’s labour fund, offers a variety of schemes to support both start-ups and established businesses.


By clicking the “Submit” button above, you accept the Terms & Conditions and acknowledge that your data will be used as described in the Bahrain EDB Privacy Policy

We will also collect and use the information you provide for carefully considered and specific purposes, where we believe we have a legitimate interest in doing so, for example to send you communications about similar products and services we offer. We will always give you an option to opt out of any future communications from us. You can find out more about our legitimate interest activity in our privacy policy here. ‘We’ includes Verdict Media Limited and other GlobalData brands as detailed here.