FinTech Focus

Leading accelerator in town

August 8 - 14, 2018

Gulf Weekly Leading accelerator in town

Nest, one of Asia’s leading corporate accelerators, has announced its arrival on the start-up FinTech scene in Bahrain with an initiative called ACCELERATE ME in partnership with American Express Middle East.

The partners will be running an accelerator programme focused on delivering innovative digital solutions to customers and business partners in the Middle East.

The ACCELERATE ME programme promises to develop up to 15 local and international startups with innovative solutions to deliver unique customer engagement, automated payments and alternative physical and digital platforms for merchants.

Mazin Khoury, CEO of American Express Middle East, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Nest on the ACCELERATE ME programme, to create a platform for local, regional and international startups and give them the opportunity to pitch their innovative solutions to American Express Middle East.

“We have a lot to offer the startup community, and we are very excited to be setting up a regional ecosystem that inspires them to grow and fulfill their ambitions.

“This new partnership with Nest will allow us to work closely with the startup community and complement the work we do at Bahrain FinTech Bay as one of the founding partners to strengthen Bahrain’s position as a leading financial and economic centre in the region and a hub for innovation.”

Credit and charge card giant American Express began operations in the MENA region in 1959 and set up its first office in Bahrain in 1977. In 1992, American Express Middle East was established in Bahrain as a joint venture company owned by American Express and Mawarid Investment Limited. Today, American Express Middle East employs more than 500 staff in the region.

Nest’s expansion comes at a time when the kingdom is positioning itself for rapid growth. With government support for startups and a strong momentum for innovation, it is hoped this will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to access new markets and resources.

Nest, headquartered in Hong Kong, operates corporate accelerator programmes, invests in startups and runs a global entrepreneurial community called Mettā and says it has built an innovation ecosystem to connect the fast growing markets of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Its goal is to help entrepreneurs, corporates and governments to connect, collaborate and scale.

It describes itself as a ‘pioneer of the corporate accelerator programme model’ and to prove the point Nest has helped more than 140 startups develop their businesses in collaboration with leading corporates such as DBS Bank, AIA, OCBC Bank, INFINITI Motors and Fedex in Asia since 2015.

Nest, is one of four accelerators to have been awarded backing from Tamkeen as part of an initiative to create opportunities for Bahrainis in the labour market and for enterprises to develop and flourish.

Lawrence Morgan, Nest CEO, said: “We are excited to bring our experience of helping high growth startups to connect and collaborate with leading financial institutions to the region, together with our corporate partner American Express Middle East.

“At Nest, we believe in taking a global perspective to connect our core markets - Asia, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA) to the rest of the world in order to empower startups to scale across industries and borders.”

More on FinTech Focus