Host Government of GEC 2019 Joins Ministerial Steering Committee
Cristina A.
1 Dec 2018

The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) is pleased to announce that Bahrain has doubled down on its commitment to leading global dialogue on entrepreneurship. H.E Zayed R. Al Zayani, Minister of Industry Commerce and Tourism and Chairman of the SMEs Development Board, has officially joined the Steering Committee of the Startup Nations Ministerial.

The Ministerial will take place on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Manama, Bahrain, as part of the four-day Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), co-hosted in 2019 by the Kingdom of Bahrain, GEN and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. This setting provides governments access to global networks of investors and entrepreneurs, new research and opportunities for collaborative cross-border project-building

“The Kingdom of Bahrain has positioned startups, small and medium enterprises as a main pillar in our economic development; empowering entrepreneurs to take the lead, through refining our policies and regulations in alignment with the global best practices to make the Kingdom an attractive destination for entrepreneurs, GEC is an opportunity that will gather policy makers for exchange of expertise and information to reach our mutual goals” expressed Minister Al Zayani.

Zayed R. Alzayani was appointed Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism in December 2014. Prior to his appointment, Alzayani led his family business as the chairman of Alzayani Investments, Euro Motors, Zayani Motors, Zayani Leasing, Zayani Properties, Alzayani Industries and Orient Motors. In addition, he also served as the Managing Director of First Motors and Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) until 2016. Alzayani graduated from Boston University, where he received his MBA in Finance and was a former Board Member of Boston University International Advisory Board.

After the startup policy advisors to Minister Alzayani and their peers in the Steering Committee Secretariat met in November 2018 in Indonesia, the six governments that form the Steering Committee recommended to focus the 2019 Startup Nations Ministerial on offering high-level authorities an opportunity for candid knowledge sharing about concrete policy lessons and experiences, and for unearthing next-generation thinking about how to address barriers for more firms to experience growth. As such, the Ministerial agenda will enable governments to learn from each other’s narratives to avoid common mistakes, and to discuss provocative new ideas.



The Startup Nations Ministerial serves as a high-level dialogue among policy leaders and entrepreneurship policy experts about how public-sector agencies across the world can better encourage more new and young businesses to start and grow.

The Ministerial offers a safe space for public sector authorities committed to unleashing growth-oriented entrepreneurship to share their experience and questions with their counterparts of other national ecosystems.  It is convened by Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and the World Bank Group, and guided by a Steering Committee of up to two national governments per region.  


Cristina A. Fernandez

Vice President for Policy + Research | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Cristina Fernández focuses on integrating public officials into startup ecosystems across the world, creating platforms for them to exchange ideas… More